The Hot Seat: Claire Blakeway (Cardiff University Students’ Union)

Friday 29-04-2016 - 12:29

In this week's Hot Seat we spoke to Claire Blakeway, Cardiff University Students’ Union President, about the launch of their 'It's No Joke' campaign to create an even more safe and inclusive community on campus.


You recently launched your ‘It’s No Joke’ Campaign strategy, how was it received by the student body and University?

I think the strategy was incredibly well received. I think this was reflected by the high attendance, from a diverse range of student groups, which the launch received. It was clear that the students who attended the launch are keen to be champions for change for the strategy, with passion to create an even more safe and inclusive community on campus. The launch of the strategy and the positive reception has resulted in the University wanting to sit down and look at what they can be doing in this area.

What did you find most challenging about creating your strategy?

Trying to develop the strategy in a way where certain groups of students didn’t feel targeted. The It’s No Joke campaign is not targeted at one group of people, it is a campus-wide campaign to tackle group or ‘pack’ mentality residing in certain activities and heavy alcohol consumption, and ‘banter’ which is often sexist, misogynist and homophobic. Whilst NUS have used ‘lad culture’ as an umbrella term for this type of behavior, we are trying to move away from it. There is a lot of misunderstanding of what the term means, which can result in groups feeling targeted. We developed our campaign called It’s No Joke to change culture and behavior on the Cardiff University campuses. We want to build campuses that are safe and inclusive to all of our students where this behavior is never tolerated.

Who was involved in creating the strategy? 
The development of strategy involved student representatives and Students’ Union staff. The group consisted of SU President, VP Sports and AU President, Women’s Officer, Activities Manager, Student Advisor and Marketing Manager. The collaboration of all these people was successful as we were all knowledgeable on different areas and were able to identify what the issues were and what resource we had to influence change.

What methods have you chosen to use to measure the impact of the work you will do?
We will facilitate research and evaluation to make sure our campaign reflects the issues being faced by the student body. We will do this by running an annual bank of questions, which will be attached to the Students’ Union Annual Survey, and the date from this will be used to measure the awareness and effectiveness the campaign has had. By having this as a part of our Students’ Unions Annual Survey we can ensure that there is a high response rate and that it is something that can be benchmarked for years to come.


How have you ensured that the activities outlined in the strategy will be resourced? 

We’re currently at the stage of creating a long term action plan to ensure that the strategy can be implemented effectively with appropriate resource and management. We will then integrate this into the operational planning process which will mean that adequate funding and staff time can be allocated to deliver the action plan.


Why do you think it’s important to tackle lad culture on your campus? 

Tackling Lad Culture is incredibly important as the behaviors that exist around it can make individuals feel victimized or intimated, limiting peoples access to opportunities and making them feel uncomfortable on their own campus. 
We want to build campuses that are safe and inclusive to all of our students where lad culture is never tolerated.


Want to attend NUS' Tackling Lad Culture event?

Date: Friday 13 May

Time: 10:00 – 16:30 

15:30 - 16:30 – Consultation on alternatives to Zellick Guidance

Location: Queen Mary University, Barbican Campus, London

Any questions please contact Bindz Patel


Interviews, Women

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