Principal Simon Woolley admitted “we are not where we want to be yet”FRANMAN247

Posters linking to an open letter about the inadequacy of sexual assault procedures at Homerton College were removed on Thursday (15/06) morning by college staff, mere hours after being put up by students.

The open letter, written by student-led group Homerton for Consent and signed by over 200 students, calls for a series of measures that will “ensure student safety and comfort is at the forefront of policy and practice”, including a “proper vehicle” to analyse existing issues, greater staff training, and improved security of accommodation blocks.

Students also claim to have been “interrogated” by college porters about the posters, who had been “instructed by tutorial” to do so. Numerous students have been approached at random and questioned as to whether they had been involved in putting up posters: “Who put you up to this?” recalls a student.

Students at Homerton have described this as “intimidation”. Meanwhile, SU Women’s Officer, Eseosa Akojie, commented that it is “shocking and shameful to hear of the repercussions, suspicion and hostility that they are facing.”

Staff have been overheard by students labelling the posters as “harmful”.

Students claim to have been advised by staff in the past that no permission is needed to put them up on shared notice boards around college.

Homerton for Consent was initially founded three years ago by students campaigning against “unclear and inadequate processes, unsafe environments, and a culture in which consent and respect cannot be assumed.”

However, the group reformed earlier this year because Homerton “failed to implement in full” a series of commitments they pledged three years ago, with the most recent action being the open letter.

In an email sent the following day (16/06), Principal Simon Woolley admitted “we are not where we want to be yet” but assured students that college “take every complaint, particularly around sexual harassment, very seriously”.

Woolley added that “we cannot, and must not, act on unsubstantiated accusations, hearsay, or rumour.”

Following the email, a student told Varsity that they felt “unsafe at college as a woman” and that College were “emboldening abusers as anything they do will just be “unsubstantiated hearsay and rumours.”

In the same email, students have been invited to an open meeting which was held yesterday (20/06) afternoon.

A spokesperson for Homerton College said: “It is utterly fundamental that all members of the College should feel safe and have trust in our culture and processes around sexual harassment, violence and abuse. In collaboration with students, the College has been introducing new means of support and improving existing ones, and that work will continue.


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“In an open letter and at an Open Meeting this week, students listed further ways to improve, all of which the College committed to implementing in some form, many of them already in train.

“At the Open Meeting, the Principal expressed regret that victim-survivors had not always been treated as they should have been. He referred to the launch of a concrete project devised to help create a positive culture on these matters, and pledged to build trust.”

“He thanked the students present for their bravery in speaking about their experiences, and offered them independent counselling. He expressed gratitude for students’ recognition of the College leadership’s good will and desire to prevent abusive behaviour and deal with it effectively when it occurs.”

“The College will plan regular Open Meetings on this topic over the coming academic year to monitor progress and ensure that the ongoing work is well communicated to the student body.”