Uni of Nottingham say: We won’t tolerate #freshersweeksexism

20th September 2013

Tweet from Sherwood Hall

#freshersweeksexism has come into the public eye after the Everyday Sexism Project received many tweets reporting incidents of sexism in the very first week at university. This led Jane Martinson from The Guardian newspaper to look into freshers’ week sexism and how rife it is in university culture.

From this hashtag, many students came forward with their stories of sexism at Freshers’ Week, from Freshers’ Fair posters saying ‘F**K ME I’M A FRESHER’ to the Lad Bible advising boys that ‘The most important thing for any LAD at uni is going out to get smashed, and to get some back doors smashed in!’

The University of Nottingham was hoping to avoid having to speak out about this issue, however after Lincoln and Sherwood Halls’ twitter accounts have come under fire for tweeting pornographic images and suggestive messages such as ‘Freshers’ week won’t be the only time I will be visiting Freshers’ rooms – #comeatmegirls’, they have been forced to make a statement.

The statement came from Welfare Officer Mike Dore:

“The Students’ Union has a strict Zero Tolerance policy to Sexual Harassment, in accordance with the NUS definition of sexual harassment. This is defined as groping, pinching or smacking of your body/having your clothes lifted/someone exposing themselves to you without consent. During Week One, but also throughout the year, the Union promotes this message and encourages any student who faces sexual harassment of any kind to report it to us – either through our Welfare Officer Mike Dore or through our Student Advice Centre.”

University of Nottingham

We spoke to Mike Dore to see if he’s keeping the Week One Exec in check and if he thinks this will be a problem with freshers next week.

UoN Feminists responded to the controversy with this comment:

“When over half of the students admitted to Nottingham based entirely on merit, are women, it is disgusting to see us represented as a minority or even a plaything.
Lad culture as displayed by Lincoln Hall’s Twitter account is equally damaging to males and females by forcing them to conform to gender stereotypes.
UoN Feminists, a new campaign group this year want to draw attention to the link between supposedly harmless “banter” and rape culture.”

UoN Feminists have now started a petition to ban the song ‘Blurred Lines’. The petition can be found here:
http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/university-of-nottingham-ban-robin-thicke-s-blurred-lines-being-played-in-university-of-nottingham-s-student-union?share_id=yNfkjKrZYL&utm_campaign=twitter_link&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition

Have you had any experiences of sexism in your week one? Did your Week One Exec make you feel uncomfortable or supported? Do you think Nottingham is handling this issue in the right way?
We want to hear your thoughts. Tweet us @urn1350 or leave a comment below.