UG launches social safety campaign to engender debate

What are you supposed to do when a lecturer makes an inappropriate remark? What if you don’t appreciate a coworker’s joke that everyone else laughs at? Approach them, the UG says in a new social safety campaign.

The campaign kicked off on Monday with an email to all students and staff. Using the motto ‘Even if it’s probably not your task, just ask’, the university refers people to the website for tips on various kinds of situations.

‘The campaign is aimed at the entire UG community and hopes to teach them to identify unsafe behaviour’, says spokesperson Anja Hulshof. ‘It usually starts with an uncomfortable situation, which leads to tension. This can then cause a lack of social safety. If we learn to talk to each other about the uncomfortable situation, we’ll hopefully learn how to prevent the escalation to a lack of social safety.’  

Uncomfortable situation

To help people start the conversation, the UG has provided tips on various subjects on the website. What is social safety, for example? Is it the same for everyone (answer: no)? What are you supposed to do if you feel like you’re the only one who thinks the situation is uncomfortable? Once you get up the courage to talk to someone, what do you say? 

In spite of the well-intentioned tip to start a conversation, it’s easier said than done. For instance, if your relationship with the person making you uncomfortable isn’t great to start with. ‘That’s why we also tell people where they can go if they’re already feeling unsafe’, says Hulshof. ‘But also what you can do when someone reports inappropriate behaviour to you, or how to deal with feedback.’ 

Helping hand

Critics will say the website is a place to go to figure out what to do if you’re already in trouble. Nevertheless, the university hopes it will be more than just a place to figure out ‘who to find where’. ‘It’s a helping hand to teach people how to start the conversation’, says Hulshof. ‘We genuinely hope it will help people talk to each other.’ 

In an effort to disseminate the campaign as widely as possible, it’s also being broadcast on the university’s television screens, and posters have been hung. The campaign team will be monitoring the number of visitors to the website.

‘We’ll never reach all 42,000 people, but we do believe this campaign is a step towards improvement. If we don’t talk about it at all, we’ll definitely never change anything.’


De spelregels voor reageren: blijf on topic, geen herhalingen, geen URLs, geen haatspraak en beledigingen. / The rules for commenting: stay on topic, don't repeat yourself, no URLs, no hate speech or insults.


0 Reacties
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments