What do we stand for at SHU?
What is the culture of Sheffield Hallam?
The culture of a large organisation like a university is hard to define, but you can feel it when you are in it. It is made up of the behaviour and attitudes and shared values of the people in the organisation. Thats quite difficult notion with such a large and diverse population of staff and students, all with vastly different life experiences and values. They are likely to have very different experiences of life at the university, so its quite difficult to sum up a few universal of shared values. There are a range of written statements, initiative and strategies where the institution signs up to a set of values, e.g. The university has an award-winning Transforming Lives strategy - a positive statement of how we can make a difference in the lives of our students and a positive impact in the community or in another example Sheffield Hallam University signed up to the Time to Change pledge - challenging stigma around mental health difficulties
Why is this relevant to sexual violence, harassment and hate crime?
Most people would agree that we are against harassment, but might not be as clear about what that means. Much of the Report and Support site and resources are aimed at providing a response to situations where sexual violence, harassment and hate crime has occured. We also need to think about how we change the culture, in the university, but also in society in general so that this behaviour becomes less accepted. The model in the diagram above shows how smaller 'microaggressions' going unchallenged or unchanged can allow a culture where more significant discrimination and violence can occur. For example, if sexist or racist comments go unchallenged, this can 'normalise them. This can encourage those who hear the comments to repeat them, or to tolerate them in future and can impact on the happiness, security, confidence and safety of those affected by them. It can also embolden people holding prejudiced views to go further in other aggressions, seeing the lack of challenge as tacit support.
Sexual harassment and culture on campus
Dr Laura Kilby conducted some relevant research within Sheffield Hallam Lad culture and the student experience - a study based within Sheffield Hallam . Other studies have explored students experiences of sexual harassment The student room - survey of campuses
What is Stand Together?
'Stand Together' is a new campaign aimed at first exploring our current culture and values and promoting one that is positive and inclusive. Activities so far include
- What were you wearing? - an Art exhibition about victim blaming
- Bystander intervention initiatives - workshops for students, co-facilitated by students looking at how to intervene helpfully to support one another
- Is it OK?- questions and survey exercises aimed at provoking thought and discussion about what we are comfortable with and not in the context of study work and social relationships
If you are interested in getting involved or would like more information please contact us