Statement on the University of Strathclyde’s Failure in the Kevin O’Gorman Case:
In light of the Kevin O’Gorman court case this week, we are shocked and disappointed at Strathclyde’s systematic failure to protect its students from an abusive lecturer. Our thoughts go out to the students who were let down by Strathclyde.
As students who wish to study on a safe campus, we find ourselves asking questions about the University’s conduct in this case. How was a lecturer allowed to abuse so many students? After the University was made aware of the abuse, why did they not contact the police? How did O’Gorman obtain a move from Strathclyde to Heriot-Watt? Did the University provide O’Gorman with a financial pay-out and employer references, as reported in the press?
It has also come to light that the University used non-disclosure agreements in this case. We strongly condemn the use of NDAs in cases of sexual abuse, harassment and misconduct and Strathclyde must immediately suspend their use.
In responding to the case, Strathclyde has appointed a QC to investigate events. We welcome this development and hope the QC has the necessary independence to carry out a thorough review of Strathclyde’s actions so lessons can be learnt.
As Strathclyde students, we remain disappointed in the University. However, we believe there are practical steps which Strathclyde could take to make the campus safer. We call on the University to immediately bolster its Report and Support service, by hiring more trained professionals to assist students who disclose incidents on campus. Additionally, Strathclyde should expand its Rape Crisis counselling provision, which has unfortunately proven to be an in-demand service. Finally, we ask for the University to re-affirm its commitment to the Equally Safe in Higher Education initiative, by putting more resource behind the project and extending its lifespan. It is only with robust policies, support and reporting tools that the University will be fulfilling its duty of care to protect its student body.
Strath Union Student Executive
If you wish to report any incidences where you have felt unsafe on campus, we would encourage students to use the University's report and support tool: https://www.strath.ac.uk/studywit…/strathlife/reportsupport/
The Student Union also offers a confidential advice service. You can book an appointment to speak with one of our advisors here: https://www.strathunion.com/advice/