Wolfson College is commited to providing an environment that is free from harassment and discrimination, and affirms the right of all members to be treated with dignity and respect. Any form of discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct is contrary to the values and ideals of our shared community. The following policies apply to all students at the College:
- Policy on Harassment and Sexual Misconduct
- Code of Conduct for Students in respect of harassment and sexual misconduct
Wolfson College encourages any student who has experienced discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct to:
- Seek support (detailed below)
- Consider reporting the incident, such as making a formal complaint (detailed below, and in the College's Policy on Harassment and Sexual Misconduct)
The College takes allegations of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct very seriously and may take action, including disciplinary action, in response to a complaint from a student about a violation of the University's Code of Conduct.
Support for students
Confidential support is available for students who have experienced any form of harassment, discrimination or sexual misconduct. This support is available from both the College and the University. Even if you do not wish to make a formal report of your experience, we encourage any affected students to seek support from a trusted contact or service.
- your College Tutor
- the Student Wellbeing Advisor
- the College Nurse
- the College Discrimination and Harassment Contacts: Professor Susan Robertson (Bye-Fellow, Education) or Ms Tania Davies (Deputy Senior Tutor for Welfare & Wellbeing). These contacts can provide confidential support to students who may be experiencing any form of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, advise them on reporting options and refer them to specialists further help, as appropriate.
- the College Porters are a first port of call in any emergency and have all been trained in Mental Health First Aid and supporting students in distress. Most have also received specialised training in responding to disclosures of sexual violence.
- Student Advice Service (SAS)
- University Counselling Service (UCS)
- University Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Service (SHVSS)
- Breaking The Silence, for students who have experienced sexual harassment or misconduct
- the Black Advisory Hub, for students who have experienced racial harassment or discrimination
Reporting an incident
Students who have been affected by experiences of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct are encouraged to report it to their Tutor or a College Contact for Discrimination and Harassment. They have been trained to advise students on the reporting options set out below and provide referrals to the support services listed above.
1. Informal reporting within the College
Many incidents can be addressed – and further or more serious problems prevented – through informal reporting and discussion of the incident with a student's Tutor or one of the College Discrimination and Harassment contacts (Professor Susan Robertson or Ms Tania Davies).
The terms of any proposed informal approach will always be agreed in advance with the student who raised the concern. Students may be supported, if they wish, in raising and addressing an issue of concern themselves with another student. Or they may request a member of staff to address the matter on their behalf.
Informal approaches are not always suitable and any student considering an alternative resolution to a difficult situation is encouraged to consult with their Tutor or another trusted advisor before initiating a difficult conversation of this kind. Alternative or informal procedures are never required before proceeding to a formal report or disciplinary procedure.
2. Formal reporting to the College
Wolfson students may report experiences of discrimination or harassment by other Wolfson students for investigation and potential disciplinary action by the College. In the first instance, students are encouraged to speak to their College Tutor, or one of the College Discrimination and Harassment contacts (Professor Susan Robertson or Ms Tania Davies) to initiate this process.
In most cases, reports of harassment or discrimination will be handled through the College Policy on Harassment and Sexual Misconduct. Possible outcomes of complaints filed under this procedure include: mediation, alternative resolution (e.g. a conduct agreement), referral to the College Disciplinary Committee or dismissal. In other cases, a complaint of harassment or discrimination may be handled through the College's general disciplinary procedure, as set out in the College Rules of Behaviour. The principal difference between the two college policies is in their possible outcomes. The Policy on Harassment and Sexual Misconduct allows for alternative resolutions through mediation and/or a conduct agreement. The outcomes envisioned in the Rules of Behaviour (as indicated in points 2.3.6 and 2.4.18) are more conventionally disciplinary and can, for major breaches of the rules, have very serious consequences for the respondent.
Reports of discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct by a Wolfson College staff member should be reported through the College's General Complaints Procedure. Reports of sexual misconduct, by staff or students, will ordinarily be directed to the University's 'Report+Support' procedure, detailed below.
3. Formal reporting to the University
Students can file a formal report through the University's Report+Support tool, which offers a single platform to report all forms of discrimination, harassment or misconduct by University staff or students. Details of the actions that can be taken following submission of a formal report are outlined on the Student Complaints website.
Any formal report of misconduct by a non-Wolfson student or by a member of University staff should be raised through this process, as should all reports of sexual misconduct.
4. Reporting to the Police
If you believe that a criminal offence has been committed, and the incident has taken place in Cambridge, then you can report the matter to the Cambridge Constabulary.
If you report a matter to the Police, you may still additionally report the matter to the College or University. The University can limit any interaction between you and the student or staff member you have reported whilst any criminal investigation is ongoing, but usually both the College and the University will wait until the conclusion of any criminal proceedings before taking further action.
Unless the College considers there to be an immediate and significant threat to you or other members of the community, it will never inform the police about a matter you have reported without your explicit consent.
5. Anonymous reporting
Anonymous reports will not lead to any outcome or action, however they can help individuals process their experiences, and also provide valuable statistical data to the University. Any student, staff member or visitor may anonymously report inappropriate behaviour, including harassment, bullying, discrimination and sexual misconduct, via the University's anonymous report form.
Experiences of racial harassment and discrimination may also be reported via the End Everyday Racism reporting tool.
Additional Sources of Support
Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre offers support to those who identify as women and non-binary who have experienced rape, childhood sexual abuse, or any other form of sexual violence.
The Cambridge & Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership work to alleviate the psychological and emotional trauma that affects survivors of sexual violence and assist them to overcome both the short and long-term effects of sexual violence whilst they work to regain control of their lives and make positive decisions about their future.
The Elms Sexual Assault Referral Centre provides a comprehensive support service for women, men and children who have been raped or sexually assaulted recently or in the past.