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University awarded money to help understand students’ views on campus safety

The University of Gloucestershire has been awarded money to support its work into gaining a stronger understanding of its students’ views on safety, security and wellbeing, including sexual harassment.

The university is one of 64 universities and colleges across the country to receive a share of £2,453,141 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for projects that aim to address concerns about sexual violence and harassment on campus.

The grants, from HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund, were issued in response to a report by the Universities UK Harassment Task Force which explored the nature and scale of the problem in higher education, and highlighted the need for institutions to respond more effectively.

The university plans to use its share of the money to undertake a research project that will help understand student priorities and concerns around safety, security and wellbeing on campus.

Stewart Dove, Director of Student Services at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “The University of Gloucestershire is very pleased to have received a grant from HEFCE to support our work in better understanding the views of our student community related to their safety, security and wellbeing. Once complete, the research project will determine the priorities that our students believe need addressing. The university, working in partnership with its Students’ Union, will then seek to enhance services accordingly.

“The University works hard to offer excellent support services for its students, and this has recently been recognised with the institution being selected as a finalist in the Student Support category in the annual Whatuni Student Choice Awards.”

The Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson, said: “We take any form of violence and sexual harassment extremely seriously, and expect universities to take a zero-tolerance approach.

“The interest and response to HEFCE’s fund has been hugely encouraging. The number of projects announced and the support shown reinforces the willingness of universities, across the country, to support staff and students in providing safe and secure campuses and I look forward to seeing the impact of these projects in due course.”

The projects have been developed with students, who will have pivotal roles in their delivery. They cover a wide range of activity, including training and awareness raising, digital innovation, and new approaches to prevention and reporting.