University of Warwick sit-in protest over sexual misconduct on campus enters ninth week

  • Report by Phil Brewster

Students holding a sit-in protest at Warwick University say the authorities are still failing to address sexual misconduct on campus.

The group called Protect Warwick Women has now been campaigning for nine weeks, saying what they describe as a 'rape culture' is not being tackled.

Students began the sit-in on March 18 and called on the university to do more to ensure women feel safe on campus.

The protesters say they won't move from the campus until they're satisfied the university have promised enough changes Credit: Instagram/@kai.yf

"At this time, students don't really feel like they can trust Warwick enough," says Brin Arnold. "That's to either report situations or just to come forward about what they've been through."The students have a growing social media presence that helps keep their message alive. Their instagram has just under 5,000 followers, featuring regular updates on how the protest is going as well as asking for food and face masks.

Since beginning their sit-in, the group have made a series of demands. This includes training for security staff on how to respond to reports of sexual assault, a zero tolerance of sexual assault anywhere on campus, and improved well-being support for victims. 

The students are having to balance their protest with lectures and exams, as well as sheltering from the rain in their flimsy tents. Credit: ITV News Central

The university says sexual misconduct on campus will not be tolerated, and has agreed to some measures including better street lighting, and free rape alarms in the student union. But it says demands surrounding training and security are not appropriate, and has decided to end discussions with the group.

The protestors says despite the cold and rain they will continue their campaign. And are convinced they have the support of their fellow students.  

Cai Kennedy says what they are doing "helps set an example for other universities.

"It also sets an example for survivors, and again perpetrators, if they realise that the university is really making change, and they will be in trouble for their actions. I'm not saying it will completely stop them, but it might deter them."

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