Vice Chancellor Mark Power relaunched the LJMU Respect Always campaign yesterday urging colleagues to back it with their "commitment" and "effort".
Restating the principles of respect was "timely" he said, given global events and this week's "heartfelt statement" on Ukraine.
Speaking at a 'Town Hall' event in the Student Life Building, Mark Power reiterated that standing together against intolerance is at the heart of our values and a crucial manifestation of our principles of community, inclusivity, courageousness and student-focus.
“Respect Always is about building our community and making a difference to our sense of belonging,” he said but cautioned that success required “our commitment and effort.”
Reminding us that LJMU took an active stance on Black Lives Matter and that we are introducing ‘respectful’ policies on social media and email etiquette, Mark stressed the need to talk openly about the issues in a constructive way.
His message was echoed by Phil Vickerman, PVC (Student Experience), who said that the new values would become part of our behaviours and require us to challenge ourselves, to see diversity as a strength, to make every student contact count and to co-create with our community, within and outside the university.
The session and Q&A was chaired by Yvonne Turnbull, Director of Student Advice & Wellbeing and chair of the Respect Always Steering Group and attended by Paul Chapman (pictured above), CEO of JMSU.
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. It is important to demonstrate that the university STILL wants to be an inviting, inclusive environment where everyone feels respected. The message is the same – you matter to LJMU.
How does Respect Always 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 won’t 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 and 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.