NUS take online action on university bullying

PinkNews Staff Writer March 28, 2007
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Students who experience homophobic bullying at college or university will now have the support of an online action pack.

The project, which is a collaboration between the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Royal Bank of Scotland, went live yesterday.

The release coincided with the House of Commons Education and Skills Committee’s report on bullying.

The training action pack, which is part of the NUS Bullying Sucks campaign, aims to raise awareness and promote positive action against the tide of homophobic bullying in higher and further education institutions.

Research suggested that most anti-bullying initiatives bypassed colleges and universities across the country.

63% of the 1,500 respondents had experienced bullying.

It also indicated that students who were bullied did not know what resources were available, or who to turn to.

Claire Anderson, NUS LGBT campaign co-ordinator said: “Bullying is a particular problem for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans students, who make up around seven percent of the student population, and this was highlighted by the survey.

“Six percent of all the respondents to the bullying survey said that they had experienced homophobic or transphobic bullying whilst at university or college.

“It is essential that anti-bullying policies in further and higher education specifically include homophobic and transphobic bullying, in order to ensure that anti-LGBT bullying is effectively dealt with in our colleges and universities.”

Any form of bullying can have serious repercussions on the mental and physical well-being of students.

Ama Uzowuru, NUS welfare campaign member said: “Being bullied has a major impact on your health, it leads to self-doubt, lack of confidence, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, self-harm and sometimes even suicide.

“Bullying is almost a forgotten topic in further education and higher education. Launching this campaign has put it on the agenda of students’ unions and universities.

“Many students up and down the country are dropping out of university because they just can’t cope anymore. Everyone has the right to study in safety.”

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has worked on various anti-bullying strategies with partners in the third sector.

The bank came 80th in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index 2007.

John Last, RBS head of diversity said: “By providing a widely accessible online tool to help students recognise and deal with bullying, RBS hopes to make a real practical difference to students who come up against bullying.”

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