What we all love about Keele is our sense of community. We care about what happens on our campuses, and we want to ensure that everyone, whoever they are, whatever they study or wherever they live, feels safe, supported and accepted.
We know though that not everyone says or does things that are right. People can offend, they can take advantage and they can cause harm. We might see somebody being disrespectful to a fellow student or hear homophobic, racist, sexist or transphobic jokes. We might witness somebody being bullied or sexually assaulted.
#NeverOK is a campaign that aims to end all forms of violence and discriminatory behaviour, including rape, sexual assault, racism, ableism, ageism, homophobia and transphobia. Everyone has the right to live and study in a safe and supportive environment.
We're making a commitment to take a stand against violence and discriminatory behaviour. Because it's #NeverOK.
We've recently partnered with StopHateUK, a charity that supports people who have witnessed/experienced a hate crime or incident. To find out more about StopHateUK and how to report a hate crime click here
Why is this so important?
Violence and discrimination can happen in all aspects of society, including on our campus. We believe that this is unacceptable.
The #NeverOK campaign aims to end violence and disciminatory behaviour, by not standing by when we witness troubling behaviour. Instead we strive to take action and ensure that Keele continues to feel a safe, fun and accepting place to be.
This is all about stepping up, if it feels safe, when we see or hear things that are wrong, for instance:
Disrespectful or unacceptable behaviour
Homophobic, racist, sexist or other discriminatory jokes
Discrimination in any form
Risky behaviour resulting from substance use (alcohol and drugs)
Taking advantage of power imbalances (status, size or level of inebriation)
This is not about responding in a dramatic way - it’s about doing the right thing and saying what needs to be said - in many ways it's about using our common sense and being a good member of a caring community.
How can we challenge unacceptable behaviour?
- Notice the situation - it's important to be aware of your surroundings
- Identify others who could help - for example, friends, Resident Advisers, Street Team, Security, Police. Being with others is a good idea if a situation looks dangerous.
- Take responsibility to act, don't just rely on someone else
- Ask the victim if they are ok, and help them to get home safely if they want to leave.
- Verbally challenge the behaviour to show the impact it may have - for example “I hope no one ever talks about you like that.”
- If it's your friend showing unacceptable behaviour, reframe the intervention as a way of helping them be successful and stay out of trouble - for example “As your mate, I gotta tell you that the way you treat women at parties is not helping your reputation.”
- Try and distract the perpetrator so that they don't continue with the behaviour
- Intervene safely - take action but be sure to keep yourself safe.
- If there are any doubts about your own safety, call Security if on the Keele Campus, or the police (999) or someone else in authority or shout for help.
What can my friends and I do to be safe?
Acting as a community helps Keele to be a safe place. Remember these tips when you are out...
Have a plan
Talk with your friends about your plans for the night before you go out. Do you feel like drinking? Are you interested in hooking up? Where do you want to go? Having a clear plan ahead of time helps friends look after one another.
Go out together
Go out as a group and come home as a group; don’t separate and leave your friend(s) behind. If you do decide to leave with someone else, check your friends know where you're going and that they have a way of getting home safely before you leave.
If you see a friend coming on too strong to someone who may be too drunk to make a consensual decision, interrupt, distract, or redirect the situation. If you are too embarrassed or shy to speak out, get someone else to step in.
Trust your instincts
If a situation or person doesn’t seem “right” to you, trust your gut and remove yourself or your friends, if possible, from the situation.