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Please find the full statement from your Student Exec
We’re thankful and appreciative of the Strathclyde UCU for putting together their very detailed and well-reasoned response to the report carried out by Craig Sandison QC on the handling of the sex offender Kevin O’Gorman at Strathclyde.
We think they raise very important questions about the report and stand in solidarity with them. We particularly second the UCU and raise issue with the apparent lack of expertise of the QC in sexual violence and higher education, lack of transparency & evidence collection, the lack of accountability from Professor Sir Jim McDonald and other University Senior Management, and the fact that a clearly criminal case of sexual misconduct was not escalated to the local authorities.
We are grateful that attention is now being focused on this, but we believe that more tangible and transparent action needs to be taken.
In his time at Strathclyde, Kevin O’Gorman went unchallenged on his sexual offences and, even now, we are seeing people in places of power - Craig Sandison QC & University Senior Management - shirking responsibility for the trauma caused away from the University. This is a symptom of a much larger problem at Strathclyde - a culture of silencing and bullying, a lack of confidence in the systems intended to protect staff and students, where reputational damage is placed before the wellbeing of students.
Strathclyde Students’ Union has been offered the opportunity to feed into an implementation group following the recommendations of the report. To this group we will be bringing along our own recommendations, which we believe are vital to ending this culture of silencing and bullying. It is vital, however, that the University listens and takes on these recommendations and criticism, to see tangible change.
We believe that to begin breaking down the culture of silencing and bullying at Strathclyde, the University must:
Fully implement the Equally Safe in Higher Education Toolkit, with ample funding, within a year.
Be one of the first universities to take on the Emily Test Charter.
Give sustained and permanent funding and resources to a fully dedicated team for ending sexual violence at Strathclyde, embedding it into the normal structure and functioning of the university. Several universities already have specialist, fully paid members of staff (Glasgow, Stirling, Glasgow Caledonian) in place.
Hold its leadership accountable for enabling the actions of convicted sex offenders.
Declare publicly its condemnation for and pledge to never use non-disclosure agreements in cases of sexual misconduct, bullying and hate crimes.
Involve and listen to Student Union and trade union representation in all discussions about ending this culture at Strathclyde.
Liberation training & other relevant courses made mandatory for staff at all levels annually. This could be embedded, for example, by making it mandatory for all staff to attend a minimum of 3 days of training each year, and incorporating it into all student inductions.
The Student Exec.