Keele wins HEFCE funding to expand Active Bystanders campaign

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Posted on 18 October 2017

Keele University has been awarded funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to develop a comprehensive safeguarding toolkit and secure reporting mechanism for hate incidents and online harassment.

Building on the work of Keele’s successful Active Bystander campaign, the project will tackle hate incidents and harassment (with a particular emphasis on online harassment) in University communities, in partnership with Keele Students’ Union and the Keele Policing Academic Collaboration. In particular, the project will focus on vulnerable groups including Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) students, disabled students, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT+) students, and students of faith.

The £50,000 HEFCE-funded project, ‘Never Stand By’ - Ensuring a Coordinated Community Response to Hate Incidents and (Online) Harassment at Keele, will build on the work already undertaken to establish Keele’s Active Bystander campaign, #NeverStandBy, and will form a significant strand of the overarching community initiative.

Ian Munton, Associate Director of Student Services at Keele University, commented:

“We are very pleased to have secured funding in this most recent round of HEFCE Catalyst Funding. It will enable us to build upon a lot of hard work that has been undertaken in recent years to ensure that our students feel welcome, safe and supported. The whole approach we are taking to the #NeverStandBy campaign is to empower, equip and enable our students to step up and call out issues and negative behaviours when they see or hear them.”

Over 40 universities and colleges in England have been awarded funding totalling £1.8 million from HEFCE to improve responses to hate crime and online harassment on campus.

Aysha Panter, Welfare and Internationalisation Officer at Keele Students’ Union, commented:

"We are really pleased to have secured this funding - the project will encompass all students, with a focus on the devastating impact that these negative and cowardly behaviours can have upon students from minority groups, specifically LGBT+, BAME and disabled students. We cannot pretend that this kind of behaviour doesn't happen at universities; as such we look forward to putting in place support, services and procedures that will improve the experience for our students."

The projects have been developed with students, who will have pivotal roles in their delivery. They cover a wide range of activity, including training and awareness-raising, digital innovation, and new approaches to prevention and reporting.

Dr Anne C. Loweth, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) at Keele University, commented:

“The successful award of HEFCE Catalyst funding provides a fantastic opportunity to build on the substantial work that colleagues across the University are doing to safeguard our students and staff. Keele University is committed to providing an integrated, safe and supportive community in which we can all live, work and study and this project’s focus on hate incidents and online harassment is a crucial facet in eradicating unacceptable behaviour and upholding our values of tolerance and inclusivity. I congratulate the team’s success in putting together this excellent project.”

HEFCE Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, said:

“All students should feel safe and supported during their time in higher education. Universities and colleges are making progress in tackling the issues of hate crime and online harassment on campus, but there is more to be done.

“We are delighted to be supporting a range of innovative projects, and we will be looking to share good practice and evidence of successful outcomes over the coming months.”