As a school, we are committed to ending sexual violence, bullying, harassment, and hate crime. Together, we continue to develop a community that is diverse, equitable, and truly inclusive. Diversity is not just a box for us to tick. It is a reality that we want to feel and value by ensuring fair practices and a welcoming environment for all.
As a part of this initiative, the School undertook work in 2017 to address harassment, hate crime, and violence against students and staff by launching a campaign called "Making a Choice." The "choice" refers to the decisions that we make every day to treat others with respect, step in when we see something that doesn't look right, and know where to go for support or report inappropriate and abusive behaviour.
Harassment in any form such as racial, sexual, or homophobic harassment can affect anyone in the LSE community. For example, in 2018 1 in 4 UK BAME students have experienced racial harassment on campus and the same number of BAME staff experienced racist name-calling and jokes (Equality and Human Rights Commission). 62% of UK university students have experienced sexual assault (The Student Room). The purpose of these statistics is not to alarm you but encourage proactive action to protect those around us and ensure they do not have their choice taken away.
If we do not strive to be inclusive, we plan to be exclusive.
That is why we at the EDI set up the Safe Contact Scheme with staff volunteers who have extensive training and passion for supporting LSE's inclusive working, studying, and social environment. All Safe Contacts are members of LSE staff who have received training and can offer a confidential 'signposting' service for staff and students who have previously or are currently experiencing some form of bullying or harassment. They are wonderful people with wide-ranging interests (you can read more about them on our website here). Most importantly, they are passionate about striving for inclusivity.
In addition to Safe Contacts, we have also partnered with Consent Collective. This organization provides comprehensive resources and tips for stopping bullying and harassment. For example, their project Together Apart informs on how to support survivors of domestic abuse and sexual abuse, and how to make teaching trauma-informed. Please take the opportunity to review these resources in the links below (https://www.consentcollective.com/lse).
We are very proud of our Safe Contacts for their enthusiasm and commitment. And we are very excited to launch the scheme across the School. We hope that you will continue to support LSE by approaching the Safe Contacts yourself if needed, sharing information with your friends, and reporting any incidents involving yourself or others. We also hope that you will take advantage of these resources to support yourselves and others in the current pandemic. Together, we can get through this.