The NUS has appealed to students to share their experiences of ‘lad culture’ as part of a consultation which will inform a national strategy to combat the issue in higher education.
The consultation seeks local evidence of students’ experiences of lad culture on campus and suggestions of what student unions, the NUS and higher education policymakers can do to challenge it.
This appeal follows the National Union of Students’ March 2013 report, ‘That’s What She Said’, which defined lad culture as “a group or ‘pack’ mentality residing in activities such as sport and heavy alcohol consumption and ‘banter’ which was often sexist, misogynistic, or homophobic”. The report found that a lot of students had been victims of sexual harassment and molestation, with many finding their universities took no action when they reported their experiences.
Kelley Temple, Womens’ Officer for the NUS, said: “As we wrote in our response to the report, everyone involved in university and student life has had some role in allowing lad culture to take root in universities, and we think the best way to combat this culture is by getting everyone involved in finding the solutions.”
She added: “There is already some excellent work in student unions to tackle lad culture which we want to learn from nationally, as well as making sure that students and unions have their say over what should happen next.”
Durham University feminist society secretary Sarah Osborn agrees that the consultation is an important step in fighting a culture that polarizes men and women, but remains unsure how lad culture can be stamped out.
She said: “I don't know how lad culture can be changed - there aren't any rules that could be enforced against it, so any change would have to be organic. This seems unlikely to me – from my experience, the type of people who engage in lad culture wouldn't be likely to reflect on their actions and understand why lad culture might have negative effects on both themselves and other people.”
Students can participate in the consultation by completing an online survey. The closing date for responses is 1 November .