The students behind the Shame On You Warwick protest have issued a response to the statements from vice-chancellor Stuart Croft and Warwick Students’ Union (SU) President Luke Mepham.
The statement said: “We must condemn your apparent lack of willingness to take any concrete action.
“This is not an issue that can be resolved through your mere acknowledgement of its existence; instead, we require that those in power use it to make genuine change.”
The statement continues, outlining the demands they have “repeatedly” called on the University and SU to implement, including “the revival of the Ask for Angela initiative, the appropriate training of bouncers, security and RLT, and appropriate resources to be made accessible to all students”.
“Instead of promising to put those into action you have dismissed our concerns by focusing on the measures that the university already has in place. These are not enough, otherwise we would not be in the midst of this extreme situation,” the statement added.
The petition, which was launched on 26 November, currently has over 34,000 signatures. The petition argued that there is a lack of guidance for students to report sexual assault and rape cases to the University.
Following the petition, a protest was held on 29 November, where hundreds of students marched across campus, demanding for better action from both the University and SU.
The petition creator, first-year student Laila Ahmed, said: “I started the petition thinking it would only get a couple views and it’s now on over 30k which should that change needs to happen. This isn’t just a Warwick issue which is why I think it’s gone a viral because it happens at all universities.
This is not an issue that can be resolved through your mere acknowledgement of its existence; instead, we require that those in power use it to make genuine change
– Statement from Shame On You Warwick
Laila said the SU are considering putting up posters to raise awareness and also discussed implementing consent workshops.
“I think [these] would definitely be a great start to preventing rape culture on campus. If Warwick takes these steps, I’m sure other universities could follow,” Laila added.
In response to the protest and petition, the SU released a statement on 4 December saying they “are fully committed to tackling this issue”.
“It is paramount that we make students more aware of the help and support currently available, whilst also acknowledging that there is still much progress to be made,” the statement added.
Vice-chancellor Stuart Croft also issued a statement in response to the petition and protest. He said that he “welcomes the efforts of those who raise these issues with us” and that “together we can tackle sexual misconduct comprehensively by raising awareness, providing support and being clear about our values”.
In response to the statement issued by Shame On You Warwick today, President of Warwick SU Luke Mepham said: “Last week, the SU Officers released a statement to address the petition, letter and protest, and to commit to tackling the issue of sexual misconduct on campus.
“In this statement, we committed to improving training for the Ask for Angela initiative, increasing marketing surrounding Report & Support, expanding consent and active bystanders workshops and courses, training SU staff in how to deal with sexual misconduct disclosures, and actively engaging with students’ concerns through a Town Hall meeting, an anonymous online form, and meetings with those students organising the movement.
We want to tackle sexual misconduct issues as a community, working closely with the Students’ Union and across the staff and student body. We welcome hearing the views, concerns and ideas of our students
– Spokesperson for the University of Warwick
“Just yesterday myself and several Officers met with the University’s Report & Support Team, representatives from Shame On You Warwick and It Happens Here, where we discussed students’ concerns and committed to further work to address these and tackle the issue of sexual misconduct.
“It is therefore disappointing that this response has been released, as it does not address any of the commitments that have been made through the statement or any of our recent meetings. The SU and the Officer Team are committed to tackling this critical issue, and will continue to work to do so.”
The University also commented: “As Stuart Croft said in his interview with the Warwick Boar last week, we are continuing to look at how we can further strengthen and improve our processes and communications on these issues, along with the support and training we provide.
“Prevention and education are a crucial part of our approach. Although we recognise the need to do more, we have put in place a number of significant measures in response to student feedback and concerns.
“These include rolling out training modules on consent to thousands of students, access to active bystander intervention and guidance on our community values. The response to this training has been overwhelmingly positive and engagement levels have been high.
“The Report and Support tool is a vital way for victims to get support and to ensure that sexual misconduct is dealt with appropriately, and we are acting on suggestions for how we can further raise awareness of it.
“We want to tackle sexual misconduct issues as a community, working closely with the Students’ Union and across the staff and student body. We welcome hearing the views, concerns and ideas of our students. We look forward to continuing our very recent discussions on this important issue with the leaders of the petition, together with Luke Mepham and the Students’ Union, so that we can all ensure that all students have the best possible experience at Warwick.”