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Statement from the President – 15/3/13

by on March 15, 2013

by Glasgow University Union (GUU) (Notes) on Friday, 15 March 2013 at 09:27

As the newly elected President of the Glasgow University Union and on behalf of the GUU Board of Management, I am deeply appalled at the recent allegations of discrimination at our Union. We want to be unequivocal – our Union does not and will not tolerate prejudice, however it is manifested.

The Board is committed to robustly and comprehensively investigating all complaints we receive and we will ensure that where action is required, it will be taken without fear or favour.

We have already decided to commission an independent review into the culture within the GUU to ensure that we provide a welcoming and safe environment for all our members and guests. This review will not prejudice the ongoing investigations but will engage and consult with all interested parties and will work with them to address any and all concerns. Where there are lessons to be learned, we will learn, and where change is required, we will change.

This process of change has already begun. We will be working closely with the University of Glasgow on equality and diversity training and this week the Board has decided to suspend all single sex dinners with immediate effect. We have also embarked on consultations with a range of cross-campus societies in conjunction with the Students’ Representative Council. We will take on board, with a view to implementing, any positive suggestions that emerge from those consultations to ensure that any unacceptable behaviour is eliminated.

We will also review how our members and their guests are encouraged to draw unacceptable behaviour to the attention of the Board of Management, and we will make clear to our members, our users and our staff that they also have recourse to the University’s Senate Office in instances of unacceptable conduct. We will work closely with the University of Glasgow to foster an environment of inclusivity and mutual respect, where any actions incompatible with these values will not be tolerated.

Understandably, the University of Glasgow is extremely concerned at the allegations that have been made and is conducting its own investigation into these. We support the university’s investigation and will assist in every possible way. We are extending the period of our own investigation to allow the university to conclude its process. That will give us the most complete picture to allow us to progress in the fairest possible manner.

The allegations that have been reported in recent days have been deeply upsetting for all involved, as they do not reflect the views or experience of the vast majority of our members. As the incoming President I am committed, along with the Board of Management, to listening, learning and acting, and we will work hard to rebuild the trust that we have previously enjoyed with our members and our affiliates. Let us restate: Glasgow University Union does not and will not tolerate discrimination.

If any member, past or present, any visitor to our union or other student within the university, or from further afield wishes to raise any issues with the Board of Management, I encourage them to contact me directly. We will listen, and any comments and experiences will help us learn and better serve the needs of our members and guests in future.

Gavin Tulloch


Glasgow University Union


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