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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

DISCLAIMER *All of the responses detailed in this piece were recorded in an environment of open conversation with myself and with consent to publish. Due to the sensitive nature of the content many requested their names to remain anonymous.*

As promised, Annie returns after Easter with the follow-up to her previous article, continuing to share her take on sexism and misogyny occurring on campus, adding in excerpts of conversations of dialogue with current students.

The current student experience at uk Universities

In my conversation with Josh, he talked of his perceptions of SU nights before attending university himself. These were of the SU – as a safe environment – which was uncontaminated by the offenders he had witnessed at the two small clubs at home. These clubs he said he has repeatedly described to people as “one where you might get touched up, and one where you will”.

It seems this perception of SU nights and larger city clubs as being secure, is widespread amongst freshers and yet, one by one, this faith is destroyed or lost.

Every single person that I spoke to for this article told me of their belief that universities don’t do enough, with one student from Nottingham telling me that both her and her friends “feel as if the Uni doesn’t do anything to help protect and look after their students in terms of nightlife safety”.

Other condemning reports of UK Universities were directed at bouncer searches which did increase last semester, after reports of a spiking crisis flooded the media, but which are now barely visible. It has fallen back into a case of empty procedure carried out ineffectually rather than an active defence. An example was made by a student at Loughborough University, where a whole raw chicken was carried into a club (under a jacket). It was unnoticed. This hardly reassures a feeling of safety, as when this can be snuck in, what else could be?

our options for action

A student of the University of Exeter told me of hearing reports of her university actively discouraging people to go to the police regarding reports of misogynistic behaviour at night on campus.

However, if you choose to ignore this recommendation, what happens?

A Nottingham student told me, that nothing occurs. She had attempted to report a spiking to the Nottingham Crime Fighters, asking them to note all the information she could offer in order to help establish a trend which might lead to imposing defences in the worst hotspots.

She was told, ‘no’.

*This incident was not on university land but in the nearby area*

what should our universities be doing?

Firstly, bring back the frequency of checks that were seen during media coverage of the spiking epidemic.

An anonymous Exeter student told me that having thorough bag searches, pat downs and the presence of metal detectors made her “feel a lot safer” and feel more inclined have a better night.

It could be in many interests to follow the guidance set by larger venues such as Rock City, where there are dedicated club crew, frequent spike tests and paramedics on standby.

These spiking events have not been forgotten. They came up in every conversation I had. They are definitely still having material repercussions. For example, a University of Nottingham student told me how she did not “go out as much as [she] used to”…a sentiment I found echoed in many of the other conversations I had.

The active fightback must also include repercussions for perpetrators. Currently, it seems there is a definite “lack of consequences” for many offenders. – Anonymous Nottingham student

While this incident did not take place on university land it did come up in discussion with a fellow Nottingham student and I want to evidence it here because heart-breaking stories like this cannot be side-lined.

My interviewee told me of a night out with one other friend at NG-1 (Nottingham-based nightclub). They had been to one place before, drank the same and both were completely fine, but after being at NG-1 for a little while my interviewee’s friend started to become very ill. She had evidently been spiked and collapsed on the floor. My interviewee tried to get help from the staff, who immediately lay suspicion on her and her, now very ill, friend. Whilst staff helped the friend up and into my interviewee’s arms that’s where the assistance ended and my she was simply told to get her friend home.

Throughout my conversations, recurring suggestions were made for consent workshops within societies, particularly those suspected for toxic cultures. A call for visible support within society constitutions and coming to practical fruition on committee boards as an accessible route back to trained helpers within the SU itself was also suggested.

In order to create change, these inputs must be substantial, not the superficial face-saving publicity of infrequent leafleting.

Universities must impose their assertions of zero-tolerance policies – not just reassure individuals of this after the damage has already been done.

There is a MAJOR difference between intention and application with the “long term concern for student safety”, a student from the University of Nottingham calls for, yet to be seen.

A message to offenders

One interviewee called for a “want of change” and a “built in sense checker”.

I spoke to a female student at Nottingham about her sadness that the misogynistic actions of some men creates a suspicion that corrupts trust and commerce within society. This suspicion is something I’ve personally found to be a trigger for men more widely than just perpetrators, but you can’t take offence. As this interviewee neatly put it “not everyone has been stung by a wasp, not every wasp has stung someone or ever will do – doesn’t mean you don’t run away if you see one”.

Instead, exercise compassion. Make sure everyone gets home safe, but respect people’s boundaries that they might not want you to know the exact door.

Perhaps, create a “get away now” saying ‘I’m just going to pop to the toilets…’ or ‘I’m just going to get some fresh air I’ll be back in 5 minutes’.

And finally, openly support victims, condemn perpetrators, and demand action from those who have the power to impose change. You will be helping to combat social hostilities first hand supporting an environment of commence that’ll make many more people feel safer.

Do better, so we can feel safer.