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    Annual report on Respect at Harper Adams University

    Posted 15 July 2022

    Harper Adams University logo, the word Respect and an icon showing people connected by rainbow style lines

    Harper Adams University is publishing an annual report on the implementation of its Respect Policy which was approved by the University’s Academic Board just over a year ago.

    The stated aim of Respect at Harper Adams is to “ensure our community is free of harassment, violence, exploitation and intimidation and that through our actions, collectively and individually, we nurture an environment of respectfulness, positive relationships and experiences”.

    Even though it doesn’t include all of the Respect work taking place, this first report demonstrates the good progress being made in developing infrastructure and laying down the foundations for achieving a more inclusive University culture.  This includes:

    • Enhancing policies and procedures – e.g. relating to student discipline and complaints policies and procedures, our equality, diversity and inclusion work (with the Students’ Union also introducing a new Membership Disciplinary Procedure).
    • Investment in additional staffing and training/development for staff and students – particularly related to student behaviour.
    • Investment in systems to promote anonymous reporting and to identify/support vulnerable students.
    • Developing our educational vision to ensure that the values associated with Respect are embedded throughout our taught courses.

    Recently, the University and the Students’ Union jointly commissioned an independent review of Respect, including contributions from a number of experienced external advisors, to look at progress to date and inform our actions and priorities for the year ahead.  A summary of the review and its recommendations will be published on the University website when it is complete. 

    Other priorities in 2022/23 will include:

    • Extending the induction and development work undertaken successfully in Welcome Week to include all year groups, and continuing programmes of work throughout the year.
    • Developing a calendar of inclusive campaigns and key events with the Students’ Union.
    • Gathering feedback from staff and students to enable the University to further baseline and identify priorities.
    • Analysing and translating relevant feedback from the Students’ Union Student Voice reports into actions.

    The summary of actions is contained in the report which can be viewed here.  Further reports will be published every summer. 

    The University is aware that not all issues are reported and continues to work to promote and encourage reporting throughout the community, including through the option of reporting anonymously. 

    Professor Ken Sloan, Vice-Chancellor of Harper Adams commented: "As we approach the end of the academic year, my first as Vice-Chancellor at Harper Adams University, I find myself reflecting on the changing culture of our University and the role that all of us play in ensuring every member of our community is treated with respect and has an equal right to participate in, and contribute to, campus life. With significant work on the Respect agenda already underway, I took up this role with no doubt that Harper Adams needed – and wanted – to ensure that its campus culture was based on belonging and safety, and was more inclusive and more respectful.

    "Most of our students and employees, past and present, have had an overwhelmingly positive experience of campus life and have been treated with dignity and respect. But even one negative experience is one too many. I recognise that some of our students and employees have not experienced inclusion and respect in the way we would have wanted. We will continue to act to address this. I’ve sat down with individuals this year who have had a negative experience and seen directly the harm and distress this causes.  What they have experienced is not and will never be acceptable. Thanks to the concerted work so far across our community, students and employees have told me of the positive changes they have seen, which have made them feel safer and have strengthened their sense of belonging. There is more to do and we will not shy away from it.

    "I encourage any student or staff member who experiences or sees something, to report it, even anonymously, so that we can work to identify the cause and act upon it."

    Peter Nixon, Chair of the University Board of Governors added: "I welcome the publication of this, the first annual report on the implementation of the University’s Respect Policy, and look forward to seeing continued progress being made in the months and years ahead. The University has benefitted from, over recent years, an increasingly diverse student population. I am very pleased to see this occurring and I know the University will continue to act to ensure that all students and staff will feel safe, welcome and equal members of our community.

    "Bringing together different groups, backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles brings challenges. But these can and should be turned into opportunities – where better to debate opposing views, using evidence-based arguments, than in an education institution?"

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