Message sent via email to those who contacted Jack Aitken following Senates decision:
I want to assure you that the University of Glasgow takes any allegation of sexist behaviour very seriously. As a consequence, an investigation was undertaken into reported incidents at the Glasgow University Union Ancients Debate. The terms of such an investigation are set by the Code of Student Conduct and the University must comply with them. Action taken under the Conduct Code is, as you note, confidential and as we therefore cannot comment on the circumstances of any investigation. However, we can confirm that published reports on the investigation and the way it was carried out contain a number of substantial inaccuracies.
The excellence of the student experience is one of the defining features of the University of Glasgow. We operate a zero tolerance policy and will always investigate any allegations of abusive, sexist or disruptive behaviour.
Statement from the President – 15/3/13
FROM GAVIN TULLOCH, PRESIDENT
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.
Glasgow University Union
Statement from the Dialectic Society:
6th March 2013
“The Dialectic Society wants to play a leading role in promoting equality and respect within debating on our campus. In relation to recent events, we have decided not to disaffiliate from GUU at present. We retain the right to disaffiliate if the discipline process and conduct of GUU fails to meet the expectations of our Board and our members.
We support action to ensure a secure and welcoming environment for all students on our campus. We encourage all our members and all students to attend the ‘Rally Against Misogyngy’ outside the library on Friday the 8th of March at midday.
Furthermore, we will organise a ‘Debating For All’ workshop on Thursday the 14th of March from 5.30pm till 7pm in Qudos of Queen Margaret Union. We want to extend the opportunities that debating can bring in improving your confidence, engaging in discussion, sharing different ideas and respecting others. We welcome all students to join our society next Thursday to change debating on campus.”
GUU Board: STATEMENT REGARDING ACTION TAKEN SINCE GLASGOW ANCIENTS FINAL
by Glasgow University Union (GUU) on Tuesday, 5 March 2013 at 12:28
A Message from the Principal of the University of Glasgow: Anton Muscatelli – emailed to students at the University of Glasgow
6th March 2013
Yesterday the University of Glasgow issued a statement to all staff making it clear that we viewed reports of misconduct at this year’s Glasgow University Union (GUU) Ancients Debating Championship with serious concern. That statement was also made available to the media.
The Senate of the University has a responsibility for student conduct issues. The Clerk of Senate yesterday instructed the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct to initiate an investigation. If University students are found to have breached our code of conduct, then appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken.
I want to reinforce this message by telling you that I was deeply distressed to hear of the reports. I view them extremely seriously and believe them to be deeply detrimental to the standing of this institution. I am writing to the two women speakers involved in the incident offering to meet them to apologise personally and on behalf of the University of Glasgow. I also welcome the statement issued by the GUU yesterday offering their unreserved apology.
As you may know, the GUU have also begun an investigation into the incidents that are alleged to have taken place and will make the findings public in due course, in accordance with their constitution. I understand the GUU intend to introduce a code of conduct for all future debates held under their auspices. I will also be seeking assurances from the GUU on their willingness to learn lessons from this episode and on what measures will be put in place to ensure that nothing of this nature ever happens again.
We take great pride in the excellence of the student experience here at Glasgow. We cannot and will not tolerate abusive, threatening or sexist behaviour.
“What does a woman know, anyway?”: sexism in debating
Guest Blog Post by Rebecca Meredith, 6th March 2013
by Glasgow University Union (GUU) on Monday, 4 March 2013 at 12:47
Statement from Glasgow Uni Lgbt Society
6th March 2013
It is with regret that we announce the cancellation of our Farewell Dinner next Wednesday. Following from the recent events at the GUU we have decided, that in the interests of the welfare of all of our members that we would have to cancel all future events scheduled to be held at the GUU for the time-being. For those that have already paid you will, of course, receive a full refund. We are planning on finding another venue for a dinner on Wednesday, so watch this space. However it is more likely to be a laid back affair rather than the previously planned formal night!
The committee will be meeting today at 6.30pm, at the Old School House pub at the end of Woodlands Road, to discuss our future relationship with the GUU. All are welcome to attend.
As a student welfare organisation we feel it is important, not only to highlight and speak out against the recent incident at the Ancients Debate, but to actively engage with the board of management at the GUU to find solutions to ensure that the union is a safe space for all students. Therefore if it is decided that we will withdraw our 2012-2013 affiliation, we will still maintain contact with the GUU to provide support in improving their policies and response to any incidences of sexism, homophobia, bi*phobia and trans*phobia.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Dear Mr Lockhart,
We are writing to you today on behalf of Student Theatre at Glasgow, with regard to the recent developments at the Glasgow University Union.
As an affiliated society, we are extremely disappointed about the accusations of sexist and misogynistic behaviour by members of the GUU at the Ancients debating final, which have brought the otherwise sound reputation of debating at the GUU and this university into disrepute.
Misogynistic behaviour or discrimination of any kind should be strongly condemned and punished by the GUU. Nobody at this university should have to face bullying or harassment, and we should always seek to promote equality and respect within the union and debating.
In light of these events, we feel we must relocate our planned event tonight from the Drawing Room of the GUU, and will be discussing our further association with the union at a later date, and depending on further developments.
We would like to see:
(1) Appropriate disciplinary action, up to a life ban, taken against those responsible; and
(2) A commitment made to promote gender equality within the GUU.
While we welcome the statement made by the GUU so far, we feel that given the severity of the situation it does not go far enough to reassure us that appropriate action will be taken.
Aidan Rutherford (STaG President) and the STaG Board
Statement from University of Glasgow
Issued: Tue, 05 Mar 2013 11:30:00 GMT:
Misogyny in Debating and the GUU Ancients Final 2013: The Chief Adjudicators Response
by Pam Cohn and John Beechinor on Monday, 4 March 2013 at 15:14