The Vice-Chancellor of the University, the institution's principal academic and administrative officer, has withdrawn a Grace which would have changed the procedure for handling allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct.
The Grace would have empowered the Academic Secretary to impose a number of restrictions on students accused of either offence while an investigation took place. If an allegation was deemed to be well-founded, the two parties involved would have been given the opportunity to find a resolution, or one would have been imposed on the perpetrator if none could be reached.
A spokesperson for the University told Varsity that the Grace had been withdrawn on account of "some late amendments to the detail of the procedure" which "has led to a short delay".
They said: "The collegiate university is committed to dealing with any sexual harassment or misconduct. To ensure we can offer timely, informed and appropriate support to our students, we are establishing a new procedure and code of conduct to deal with student complaints of student harassment and sexual misconduct. We are continuing to consult widely to ensure the new procedure can deal effectively with these complex cases."
They added that while "it had originally been intended to implement this at the beginning of 2017", the University now hopes to implement the new procedure "later in the academic year."
The Grace enjoyed the support of a number of members of the University, including the President of Murray Edwards College, the Master of Churchill College, and the Senior Tutor of Pembroke College. It had been approved by the University Council.
It was also supported by CUSU, which claimed to have been “involved with the drafting process from the very beginning.”
CUSU Women's Officer Audrey Sebatindira told Varsity: "It is frustrating that some individuals within the University have forced the implementation of the policy to be delayed at this late stage. However, we have been reassured that the minor concerns with the current drafting will be resolved quickly and we are tentatively optimistic that the policy will be adopted and implemented as soon as possible."
The Grace was due to pass automatically at 4pm on the 23rd of December.
This article has been updated to include comment from the University and from CUSU.
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