This summer, the cracks in our working relationship with the College on the Against Sexual Violence Project came to a head.
Throughout early 2020, the Students’ Union flagged concerns to the College about the resources available for the Against Sexual Violence project as well as the lack of partnership from the College. We raised these at the board that oversees the work and in direct communications with the college lead in July 2020.
In March 2020, the Students’ Union cancelled all in-person Active Bystander Training workshops until further notice in order to protect our student-staff facilitators and student participants during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In April 2020, all Students’ Union staff on the Against Sexual Violence Project were put on furlough for the summer.
In August 2020, Senior Management finally chaired an ASVB meeting and agreed to release two months of the ASV funding that would last until the end of October, allowing Students’ Union staff only a few weeks to plan for the upcoming year.
In August 2020, the Students’ Union suggested delivering an online training course on consent for all incoming students while we adapted our Active Bystander Training workshops for online delivery. We stressed that this should not replace Active Bystander Training which we suggested could be delivered online in 2021, if we were given the resources.
In October 2020, negotiations continued. The College proposed to deliver the online consent training themselves, essentially cutting all ASV funding to the Students’ Union until Active Bystander Training can resume. The Students’ Union rejected this proposal on the grounds that it is a breach of the commitment made by the College to a third-year of funding and because it ignored the staff labour costs required to develop a covid-safe Active Bystander Training programme.
Now in November 2020, the College has cut off all funding for the Against Sexual Violence Project, officially reneging on their promises to the Students’ Union, the Goldsmiths Community, and all student and staff survivors who fought for the project over the last decade.
On Monday 16th November, Goldsmiths Students' Union launched 'Take Survivors Seriously' with a public statement. In 4 hours, we attracted over 100 signatures!
On Monday 16th November, in the evening the University posted a statement in response, claiming to not have defunded the ASV Programme, you can read it here.
On Tuesday 17th November, Goldsmiths Students' Union responded to the Universities statement point-by-point, debunking some of the very misleading information, you can read it here.
On Tuesdday 17th November, within 24 hours of launching 'Take Survivors Seriously' we gathered over 500+ signatures!!