Universities are failing to tackle sexist and homophobic 'lad culture', says NUS

Policies to tackle the issue are lacking in almost half of UK universities

Tom Batchelor
Monday 27 July 2015 02:18
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Campaigners petitioned against a performance by ‘lad comedian’ Dapper Laughs in 2014
Campaigners petitioned against a performance by ‘lad comedian’ Dapper Laughs in 2014

“Lad culture” that can result in sexual harassment is being allowed to fester at British universities because of a lack of action by institutions, the National Union of Students (NUS) has warned.

Sexist or homophobic behaviour linked to heavy alcohol consumption is often rife at universities across the country, a study by the organisation found, with staff and student unions failing to take action on campuses.

Policies to tackle the issue are lacking in almost half of UK universities, with just 51 per cent having a formal policy on sexual harassment.

Just one in 10 had a policy that covered the display of sexist and discriminatory material on campus. Misogynistic jokes, so-called “rape banter” and pressures to engage in sexual behaviour are an increasingly common problem affecting students, and NUS Women’s Officer Susuana Amoah claimed violence and discrimination were making the education system “inaccessible for many students, not just women”.

Campaigners at Cardiff University claimed a victory last year after they petitioned against a performance from “lad comedian” Dapper Laughs – whom they claimed trivialised rape.

The higher education ombudsman, Rob Behrens, has also argued that institutions should take a “much-more proactive approach” in dealing with laddish behaviour on campus.

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