Media release:

No to sexual violence at the University

Friday 17 April

Media release (PDF)

GSA strongly condemns any sexual harassment, misconduct and assault of students at the University, and is both shocked and disappointed by how the University has handled the recent alleged incident of sexual harassment and assault of a former international PhD student.

GSA’s Women’s Officer, Eliza Colgrave, firmly places the interests and privacy of survivors first. “GSA respects the survivor’s privacy and will not comment in the individual legal matter. However, GSA is deeply disappointed by how the University has handled the PhD student’s complaint. They have demonstrated a lack of duty of care by allowing the accused professor to continue to teach while the matter was being investigated.”

GSA echoes the disappointment expressed by many graduate students, particularly PhD students, who strongly criticised the University for including inappropriate praise toward the Professor in the email announcing his departure, following the settlement of the sexual harassment claim. The University’s email thanked the departing professor for his contributions, with no mention of the allegations or the settlement. One PhD student, who wishes to be not named, said to us: “What kind of message is the University sending to the students and staff here?”

GSA is currently working closely with UMSU and the broader University to improve policies relating to sexual harassment and assault. We are also working together to establish effective mechanisms for prevention and accessible reporting. In particular, GSA is focused on the safety of graduate students and ensuring that a high standard of supervisor-student relationships is upheld.

GSA President Emily Roberts added: “As an organisation, we have strong policies and procedures of our own to ensure a safe and fair environment for all staff and graduate students at GSA. We look forward to continuing to work with the University through the Respect Taskforce, and any other initiatives, to ensure all students can study without being sexually harassed or assaulted, as is our fundamental right to feel safe.”


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