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Homophobic, death and rape threats prompt Media School meeting

A meeting was held to discuss incidents of “vile” homophobic, rape and death threats made against staff in the Media School in the past year.

The meeting last week had both staff and students present, discussing the threats made by a minority of students to other students or staff in the last 12 months.

The meeting revealed the unimaginable impact on the people concerned, with more than five but less than ten incidents of abuse being reported in the past year.

Threats have been put under, or written on doors in the Media School, making staff “feel unsafe”. Homophobic, death and rape threats have also been reported.

SUBU Vice- President for Welfare Reece Pope reacted and said: “This meeting was obviously a very important step in acknowledging that these types of issues are happening in the University. We shouldn’t be fooled that this is something unique to Bournemouth University, however this doesn’t mean it should ever be accepted.

“I feel that issues like this are hard to discuss as due to confidentiality we don’t seem to be being told what type of incidents are occurring. SUBU and BU both uphold a zero tolerance to any form of bullying or harassment and we need to show this, however I don’t believe it is possible to do a general campaign, we need to run campaigns on specific issues to tackle them directly.

“Humans have a habit of compartmentalising actions and a general campaign is likely to lose the emphasis it deserves. I personally believe that SUBU should never police our students unless it is against our policies so I believe that there needs to be a proactive look on these types of campaigns to tackle the issue rather than accuse individuals of committing them.

“It was shocking in the meeting how few people knew what to do if they saw these types of actions happening or are a victim of them. I believe this is the responsibility of BU to ensure all staff know of the process and who to turn to, if students are victims of harassment or bullying I would always strongly recommend the speak to SUBU Advice to make a formal complaint, if students also feel comfortable I will always be happy to have a chat with them about running proactive campaigns on specific issues.

“We have a Welfare Council who are there to run campaigns on issues like this, If students would like to either lead or be involved in these then please come and see me in the Student Centre or email me at [email protected]

President of the LGTBQ+ society Katie Boyden also reacted to the incidents and said: “I’m glad that this meeting went ahead and it was a very useful discussion between staff and students. However, without higher ups like the Vice Chancellor in attendance, I felt frustrated that no concrete action has been taken yet.

“As a visible LGBTQ+ person on campus and president of the LGBTQ+ Society I find the recent harassment of lecturers, and especially the homophobic hate crime directed at a lecturer extremely disturbing. I am concerned for the safety of myself and my 230+ LGBTQ+ members.

“We need more guidelines about how to help students who may have been the victims of hate crimes or abuse, and quickly, so if anything like this happens again we are able to advise students properly and tackle the issue head on, showing that this threatening behaviour has consequences.”

In the coming weeks SUBU have said they will try to do more to stop this behaviour in the Media School, and elsewhere at the university.