With issues in wider society around sexual harassment, hate, stress and mental health, LJMU management is relaunching its Respect Always campaign with a lunch and town hall event with Vice-Chancellor Mark Power on March 2.
What is Respect Always?
RA is a campaign that was born out of trying to ensure that we could get some potentially tricky messages out to staff and students. Issues around sexual harassment, hate crime, respectful behaviours generally are often difficult to communicate in a cohesive and effective manner. The purpose of Respect Always was to provide the university with a vehicle to change the culture; to ensure that staff and students could always call out disrespectful behaviours in whatever form they occurred.
Why the re-launch?
RA was originally launched back in October 2019. A lot has changed since and a lot of staff have changed/arrived since that date. Many staff and students won’t know about the original launch and the effect it had on our entire university community. We want to re-launch to demonstrate that the university STILL wants to be an inviting, inclusive environment where everyone feels respected. We will be re-launching for staff and students slightly differently – but the message is the same – you matter to LJMU.
How does RA work with the new values?
RA cuts across all of the new values in a number of different ways. Most importantly the value of inclusivity incorporates respect in all areas of the university. If we are to be truly inclusive, we need to respect others opinions, values and perspectives. Academic communities are designed to be the protectors of free speech and with that free thought (within the limitations of the law). We must always demonstrate respect through opening ourselves up to new concepts and thoughts – we wont always take them forward but we must remain open.; Community – to develop and maintain a harmonious, conducive community, we need to respect each other. If we disrespect our housemates; work colleagues and so on, we cause tension and this can destroy community very quickly. Courageous – let’s ensure that as an academic community we are courageous in our work, thoughts, actions. We cannot be courageous without respect – challenging someone on an idea or dialogue requires a level of respectful behaviour that comes through this campaign. Student focused – too many times we hear of incidents where students are not respected; where they are harassed verbally, sexually, physically. We cannot allow this to happen on our campus. Much of the work of RA is focused on key student campaigns such as sexual misconduct, racial harassment, hate crimes, and ensuring that students have a voice that allows them to be heard.
How can staff get involved?
There are a number of ways that staff can get involved in this campaign. Pledge your support via the pledge boards at the event today. We have signatures from across the institution, but yours is important. In return we will give you a RA badge that can be worn at work to signal your support of the campaign – it might just make the difference between someone talking to you about an issue or not.
Look out for the RA updates in the staff newsletter and start to incorporate the changes and positions into your everyday approach. We will be sharing email etiquette guidelines; launching the new institutional harassment reporting tool for ALL members of our community to use.
March 2 event
Come to the Respect Always lunch and town hall event on Wednesday 2nd March – free food and your chance to talk to colleagues and tell senior leaders how you experience respect on campus. Lunch 12-1pm, Town hall event in room 208 from 1-2pm. The Vice Chancellor and other members of ELT will be present at the event which will be facilitated by Yvonne Turnbull, Director of Student Advice and Wellbeing and Chair of the Respect Always Steering Group