Students to get consent training following sexual assault claims

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Students are to receive consent training following a report in The Telegraph  earlier this month of at least nine rape claims involving students in the St Andrews branch of US-based student fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEP-i).

An Instagram account called St Andrews Survivors posted over 20 allegations about sexual misconduct at the university, with many claiming members of a fraternity at St Andrews University carried out the attacks.

St Andrews University has said it will work with police to investigate dozens of allegations of sexual assault or rape on campus and Dan Marshall, president of the Student Association, has stated that  Got Consent  online workshops will become mandatory for all the University’s 9000 students in September 2020.

The AEPi St Andrews confirmed in a statement that several of its members have been suspended following the allegations and said it will conduct a thorough investigation.

“We find the contents of these allegations abhorrent and are taking them extremely seriously,” it said. Coming forward in any capacity takes tremendous bravery, and we want to thank everyone who has both told their stories and those who have supported them as we confront these difficult issues. We hear you and want to help.”

The vice-principal of education at the university has met and spoken with the founder of the Instagram account and urged the victims to report the allegations.

A spokesperson for the University issued the following statement: “We welcome the ‘St Andrews Survivors’ account’s efforts to provide people of all genders a space to voice their experiences of sexual misconduct.”

“The proctor met with the account creator this week to establish how we can work together to signpost support and reporting mechanisms to students who require them. The university’s primary concern is to ensure survivors know that we are ready and willing to support their decisions and take action, facilitate police reporting, and provide ongoing support accordingly.”

“We have clear and established procedures for investigating allegations of this nature. However, the details of any investigations must remain confidential to offer appropriate support and fair outcomes to all concerned,” she added.

“The University will always act when incidents are formally reported, and is committed to working collaboratively with students to promote a culture of responsibility and respect, in which everyone can trust in our procedures and that our community is intolerant of all forms of sexual misconduct.”

On Monday (13 July), Willie Rennie, MSP for North East Fife, commented: “This is not an issue for AEPi to resolve themselves; it has gone well beyond that. If AEPi knows anything about what has gone on and who is involved they must step up and do the right thing.” These are deeply worrying allegations that deserve a thorough investigation by the authorities and the complainants deserve our full support.”

In a prepared statement, Yvonne Stenhouse, Police Scotland’s community inspector for North East Fife, said: “We are aware of these online reports and are working with the university to make sure students in St Andrews feel safe while they live and study in the town.

“We are committed to bringing sexual offenders before the courts and treat all reports of sexual crime with the utmost seriousness. Anyone wishing to report such offences should do so to Police Scotland by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“Within busy town centres, such as St Andrews, we have regular deployments of officers to deter such offences and provide a visible and reassuring presence to our communities. We will continue to work with the University on this matter and any criminal complaints will be progressed accordingly.”

For more on this story go to CNN, the Saint Online and the Guardian (17.07.20)



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