On Monday, NUS launched a report examining lad culture in UK universities an issue we've been looking with growing concern for some time. Since the launch of Hidden Marks in 2010 (a study of women students' experiences of harassment, stalking, violence and sexual assault) and That's What She Said (women students' experiences of 'lad culture' in higher education) in 2013, the knowledge, understanding and true extent of lad culture's pervasiveness has only increased.
The report highlighted some shocking statistics on the lack of policies, procedures and support in universities. That's why this week, in partnership with nine institutions, NUS launched a pilot project to try to address the problem. The aim is to help students' unions build their own strategies to tackle lad culture and share best practice with others who have a vested interest in solving the issue. Our meeting served to demonstrate why universities can and should work together to face the challenges students face on campus.
With student officers and staff members in the room, we were able to delve deep into the root causes of lad culture and discuss which parts of institutions need reform. Having a detailed analysis of existing policies and practices that universities and students unions have in place provided a strong framework in which to push the discussion forward.
There were a range of talks during the day, representatives from Rape Crisis, for instance, spoke to attendees about how universities can provide support for survivors. After a range of activities and debates, each union set out the aims they wanted to achieve locally and the next steps they would take.
If we're going to tackle a problem as complex and institutionalised as lad culture we need time and resources to build a strong framework against it. It's incredible to see students and staff members so engaged with the issues and ideas shared on our pilot project so far, but this is just one of many possible actions. The educational community must adopt a more active attitude if we are to create more inclusive and safer campuses. Students, academic and professional staff need to stand together to end lad culture.