YUSU Welfare Officer Dom Smithies has launched a year-long respect campaign called #WeAreYork, that aims to increase inclusivity within the University.
One of the first initiatives that has taken place as part of the #WeAreYork campaign was a series of consent talks run by the YUSU Women’s Officers, Lucy Robinson and Mia Chaudhuri-Julyan. The initiative ran in conjunction with the annual compulsory fire and river safety talks, with around 5000 students in attendance.
The gender-neutral talk covered issues such as sexual consent, alcohol and personal safety.
Speaking to Nouse about the new campaign, Smithies said: “The #WeAreYork campaign is a Union-wide and year-long campaign on respect and inclusivitiy.
“The campaign is designed to support and empower the work being done across campus by Part-Time Officers, Colleges and other student groups to ensure the message of respecting your fellow student is understood in every possible capacity. It’ll be seeking to address various issues such as consent, social media citizenship and mental health as well as sexism, racism, ableism, ageism, queerphobia and xenophobia more widely.”
“All of the Officers and all other students will be invited to bring their own campaigns and events into the calendar and I’m excited to see what great ideas will be suggested now that everyone has returned to campus and term is started! I’m sure there’ll be much more depth and detail to announce once the Liberation and Welfare Group have met!”
Smithies’ campaign follows on from previous initiatives run by the Students’ Union, such as former YUSU President Sam Maguire’s campaign to tackle ‘lad culture’ within the University.
The handling of sexual harassment within the University was strongly criticised by the former Women’s Officer Ananna Zaman last year.
Former York Sport President Grace Clarke also launched an equal opportunities scheme aiming to “kick homophobia out of sport”.
The #WeAreYork Campaign will continue to run throughout the year, with more information being released over the course of this term.