The NUS have published a 39-page audit on ‘Lad Culture’
They found only six per cent of SUs have consent in their curriculum
Findings from the NUS’ hotly anticipated “Lad Culture” report were published today in their latest audit of uni policies to tackle sexism, bullying and harassment.
The 39 page report, which uses the phrases “lad culture” a massive 149 times throughout, blasts universities for failing to combat yobbish, laddish behaviour on campus.
They found only half of the 35 universities they examined had a formal policy on sexual harassment and only one in 10 had a policy which covers “the display of sexist and discriminatory material” and included info on these policies in their freshers packs.
And less than half of these universities had a dedicated “safe space policy”.
Although the majority of universities had equality and harassment policies, the NUS report branded them “ill-defined” and said they weren’t relevant to “lad culture”.
Only one in 10 SU’s provide “training in Lad Culture” and only six per cent included consent in their curriculum.
The audit takes its cue from the last NUS report on lad culture, entitled “That’s What She Said”, where they characterised laddish behaviour as “residing in activities such as sport, heavy alcohol consumption and ‘banter'”.
They add: “At is extreme, lad culture was thought to promote rape-supportive attitudes, sexual harassment and violence”.
The NUS also hit out at complaints procedures in universities which “often put the onus on victims to resolve the matter informally first”.
They cited one university’s policy which encouraged: “Speaking to the person who is causing you distress is always an informal option and an approach preferred by many in delicate circumstances.
“This is because sometimes individuals are genuinely not aware of the offensive effect of their behaviour and will naturally stop when it is brought to their attention.”
Another policy told students: “You are encouraged to attempt to resolve the matter informally at the earliest opportunity with the individual concerned as it is often the case that the alleged harasser is not aware of the impact of his or her behaviour.”
But the NUS warned there wasn’t enough information to determine the circumstances where an “informal approach” would be appropriate.
They said: “There is a real danger these policies are forcing victims rather than institutions to take responsibility for addressing difficult situations.
It added: ‘Clearly for cases of serious sexual harassment and assault, advising people to try first an informal approach can be problematic: it tends to minimise the impact of the offence and pushes the victim to have a direct confrontation with her/his aggressor.
“It also does not guarantee a victims’ safety and assumes the behaviour of the offender will be changed simply by having an informal chat.”
Nine university SUs, including Oxford and LSE, are acting on the findings of the audit and have volunteered to talk part in a pilot scheme to tackle lad culture.
NUS cited Bradford’s No More Page 3 campaign and Oxford’s sexual consent workshops as positive case studies in combatting the culture.
NUS Women’s Officer Susuana Amoah said: “Harassment, violence and blatant discrimination can make education and other spaces inaccessible for many students, not just women.”
The audit comes after a 2010 NUS report found one in seven women had been victims of serious sexual assault or serious physical violence while at uni.