Tackling Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

The Committee of University Chairs (CUC) has published new guidance for Chairs and Governing Bodies of universities relating to Tackling Harassment and Sexual Misconduct (May 2022).

The CUC guidance notes that it is “critical that universities have strategies and plans to prevent and successfully address these issues” but recognises that doing so is “complex and challenging”.

The guidance helpfully pulls together a range of resource material, guidance and regulatory requirements from across the higher education sector, including:

  • Universities UK’s Changing the Culture reports (2016 and 2019);
  • the Office of the Independent Adjudicator’s good practice framework;
  • the Office for Students’ Statement of Expectations.

From a governance perspective, the CUC guidance notes that governing bodies will exercise oversight and will need assurance on a number of areas of focus, including:

  • that there is an appropriate culture and associated behaviours;
  • that there is an appropriate strategy which is owned and understood by the whole institution;
  • that there are delivery mechanisms with clear responsibilities, accountabilities, performance targets and monitoring;
  • an appropriate level of resource;
  • a clear approach to communications;
  • engagement and support from its partners, particularly its staff and students;
  • a system of monitoring and review.

More details on each of these areas for assurance by governing bodies are included in the appendices, along with case studies, references and sources of information.  

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