Warwick pledges not to use NDAs to silence sexual assault claims

The Can’t Buy My Silence campaign has been backed by Michelle Donelan MP, Minister for Higher Education

CN: mentions of sexual violence

The University of Warwick has signed onto the #CantBuyMySilence pledge to end the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) for complaints about sexual harassment, bullying and other forms of misconduct.

The Can’t Buy My Silence campaign has been backed by Michelle Donelan MP, the Minister for Higher Education. It asks UK University Vice-Chancellors to sign the following pledge:

“Backed by the Minister for Higher and Further Education, former Equalities Select Committee Chair Maria Miller MP and campaign group #CantBuyMySilence, we [our vice-chancellor and higher education provider] commit to not using Non-Disclosure Agreements to silence people who come forward to raise complaints of sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct, or other forms of harassment and bullying.”

So far, 14 other UK universities have also signed the pledge to end NDAs. These include the University of Cambridge, University College London and the University of Exeter.

The campaign wants to end the use of NDAs to silence victims

The campaign defines NDAs as “contracts created to protect trade secrets but when used wrongly become secret settlement contracts used to hide wrongdoing and sometimes criminal acts by buying the silence of a victim or whistleblower.”

It points out the problems of them, which include failing to protect victims and perpetuating problems further. The campaign itself was founded by Prof. Julie Macfarlane and Zelda Perkins, following their own shocking personal experiences with harmful NDAs.

The Minister for Higher Education, Michelle Donelan MP, backed the pledge and said that NDAs “silence victims” and “support a culture where sexual assault and violence can hide.”

After pledging its support, Warwick tweeted: “We have committed to the Can’t Buy My Silence pledge.

“We do not, and will never, use non-disclosure agreements in relation to investigations into sexual harassment, bullying and other forms of misconduct. #CantBuyMySilence”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Warwick SU release their Drink-Spiking Action Plan

• 21-year-old man claims bouncer assaulted him at Warwick nightclub in ‘homophobic’ attack

•Gender Expression Fund made available to Warwick students