Universities join forces to show the importance of respect

Respect At Uni | Torrens University

Australian universities are joining forces to promote the importance of respect, equality and inclusion in our campuses, online spaces and communities.

Respect at Uni is a unique campaign initiated by the Victorian Tertiary Primary Prevention Network (VTPPN). It’s a collective of universities collaborating to spread awareness of a joint commitment to promote and highlight respect and sexual harm prevention initiatives within the university community and sector. 

The campaign was born from a recent national survey revealing remarkable results concerning sexual harassment at university.

Universities include RMIT, Swinburne, La Trobe, ACU, Deakin, Melbourne, VU, Monash and Torrens University Australia.

Each university is calling on students to make a pledge on a community padlet answering the question - “What can I do to contribute to building a respectful University community?”

This is the inaugural Respect At Uni campaign for Torrens University. A campaign that will act as a reminder to constantly conduct an audit on respectful and safe cultures.

Vice-Chancellor of Torrens University Australia, Professor Alwyn Louw, said participating in this new campaign was a timely reminder of the importance of building respectful and safe learning and working environments.

“At Torrens University Australia, and along with our peers in the higher education sector, we strongly believe our communities should be safe and free from any kind of violence,” said Professor Alwyn Louw, Vice-Chancellor, Torrens University Australia.

“This campaign is a perfect example of how universities are coming together and collaborating to ensure the safety of all students, and the absolute non-negotiable that all universities need to be respectful spaces that keep our diverse community safe, and each student flourishing in their studies.”

An invitation to all students to create a #respectatuni video

All participating universities are creating video content where students will be encouraged to give their honest perspectives about what Respect At Uni means to them by reflecting on their own experiences.

The video will end with the call to action to get involved in Respect at Uni week, under the uniting hashtag #respectatuni.

“Safe and respectful communities mean something different to each of our students. At Torrens University Australia, our approach to supporting our students is a multi-faceted one,” explains Vanessa Bryden-Jones, Student Counsellor, Torrens University Australia.

“It simply isn’t a one size fits all, it’s nuanced, and each student arrives at our university with a unique frame of reference, and unique experiences. It is our job as counsellors to provide a safe space and appropriate support for each student, and each unique situation.”

“This campaign is a chance to walk in another student’s shoes for a moment, to hear other perspectives, and for each of us, staff and students, to broaden our idea of what Respect At Uni means to our current cohort.”

How we are promoting a safe and fair community for students and staff

During our Respect At Uni week, 13-17 March, Torrens University Australia is hosting three half hour ‘learning at lunch’ sessions including sessions from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Liaison Officer, Rochelle Morris - ‘Cultural awareness and safety from an Indigenous Perspective’, our International Student Wellbeing Coordinator, Martina Casolini on multicultural respect, and an external session on Respect: An LGBTQ perspective, run by Christopher Nelson, Associate Director, Pride in Diversity.

“This is a campaign the Wellbeing and Diversity team at Torrens University jumped at collaborating on in partnership with other universities,” explains David Whyte, Head of Student Wellbeing and Diversity.

“This initiative demonstrates our ongoing commitment to shoulder our responsibility for prompting safe and respectful communities and to raise awareness that every person, staff or student, has a role to play in achieving this,” said David.

“It has also been an opportunity for other areas of our organisation to come forth and participate. For example, our Brand Studio have been incredible designing collateral for all universities to use throughout the campaign,” said David.

If reading this article has brought up any issues for you in any way, please contact:

· Lifeline – 13 11 14
· Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
· 1800RESPECT (family violence/sexual assault) – 1800 737 732
· Men's Line – 1300 78 99 78

The collective is guided by the following statement;

Universities are joining forces to promote the importance of respect, equality and inclusion in our campuses, online spaces and communities.

Our communities should be safe and free from violence. National Student Safety Survey has revealed universities must continue to improve their response to, and prevention of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

We invite students and staff at all universities to participate in the upcoming Respect Week activities and help create safe and respectful communities. Preventing gender-based violence starts with a culture of respect – now and always.

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