St Andrews University to introduce compulsory module to teach students about consent

The University of St Andrews is introducing a module to teach new and returning students for the forthcoming academic year about consent.

It's after a social media account published a range of stories from survivors of sexual violence.

The St Andrews Survivors Instagram page, which has more than 3,400 followers, contains details of people's experiences of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Both the proctor of the university and the creator of the account have met to establish how they can co-operate to signpost support and reporting mechanisms to students.

The institution insists it has not made any attempt to suppress survivor testimonies and claims not all of them are in relation to offences committed in St Andrews.

It adds some of them were connected to historic events which happened prior to attendance at the University.

The University has also made it clear it wants to support the decisions of survivors, make police reporting easier and continue provision of support to those affected.

A spokeswoman from the University said: "We welcome the ‘St Andrews Survivors’ account’s efforts to provide people of all genders a space to voice their experiences of sexual misconduct.

"The Proctor met with the account creator this week to establish how we can work together to signpost support and reporting mechanisms to students who require them.

"It is categorically untrue to suggest the University tried to suppress survivor testimonies, as the account creator has made clear. 

"The University’s primary concern is to ensure Survivors know that we are ready and willing to support their decisions and take action, facilitate Police reporting, and provide ongoing support accordingly.

"We appreciate these are difficult issues to speak about, but our Student Services team has a 90% satisfaction rating amongst students, and Survivors who wish to see perpetrators investigated must be willing to make reports through the appropriate channels. 

"We have clear and established procedures for investigating allegations of this nature.

"However, the details of any investigations must remain confidential to offer appropriate support and fair outcomes to all concerned.

"It would not be appropriate for us to comment on whether any specific individual or group is under investigation.

"The University will always act when incidents are formally reported, and is committed to working collaboratively with students to promote a culture of responsibility and respect, in which everyone can trust in our procedures and that our community is intolerant of all forms of sexual misconduct."

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