18 Feb Strengthening the University of Cambridge’s Policy for Cases of Sexual Harassment and Assault
Writers: Jun Pang and Vidya Ramesh
Editors: Laura Grunberg and Chia Jeng Yang
Commissioned by: End Rape on Campus UK
Sexual violence is endemic to university campuses and other institutions of higher education. While preliminary engagement with the issue has begun on the part of the education sector and the government in the United States, there remains no comprehensive set of mechanisms for dealing with sexual violence across universities and other institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom.
The University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford are compelling examples of the difficulties of instituting simultaneously vertical and lateral processes of disciplinary action and awareness-raising when it comes to issues surrounding rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and consent, due to their collegiate system. This paper explores the answer to the seemingly straightforward question, “Does the University of Cambridge have a policy for cases of sexual harassment and assault?”, and hopes to highlight the importance of instituting comprehensive mechanisms for dealing with the issue of sexual violence in universities. It recommends that institutions of higher education pursue a two-pronged approach to instituting policy: preventative measures (raising awareness of the importance of consent) should function in tandem with disciplinary measures (mechanisms for dealing with alleged perpetrators of sexual violence) in order to best uphold student welfare.