UG staff and students speak up more about social safety

More people are speaking up about socially unsafe behaviour at the UG, but it’s too early to credit that to the university’s social safety campaign, says UG spokesperson Elies Kouwenhoven.

The ‘Just Ask’ campaign kicked off on April 17 and the first phase has just been completed. ‘People in the community have started talking to each other’, says Kouwenhoven. ‘We’ve noticed more people reporting possible worrisome situations to, for example, their dean or lecturers.’ 

However, there hasn’t been an actual increase in official reports of socially unsafe behaviour to authorities such as the confidential adviser; rather, there has been a rise in informal reports.

But whether that is an effect of the social safety campaign isn’t clear yet, says Kouwenhoven. ‘We are still evaluating whether the campaign has helped to increase the number of people speaking up, and if so, how. We have to keep in mind that the topic of social safety has been on people’s minds more over the last year in general, so it may not necessarily be due to the campaign.’

Annual programme

Nevertheless, the UG wants to make use of the momentum. The university wants to set up an annual programme of activities to foster an environment in which everyone has the opportunity to take action, says Kouwenhoven. 

The first plans of the second phase are now being drawn up, with an upcoming event on October 16 to promote them. Through an interactive theatre performance and workshops – organised together with the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and Studium Generale – the UG intends to teach students and staff more about how to set boundaries, how to speak up about inappropriate behaviour, and how to prevent yourself from becoming the aggressor.

Tickets for the ‘Safe Space’ event are free and can be reserved via Studium Generale

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