For many, student life is a crucial stage in a person's sexual development and discovery, standing alongside their academic and social development. Consequently, we at EUR see it as our responsibility to provide an environment where individuals can receive support and a culture where sex relies upon mutual, voluntary, ongoing, enthusiastic, and freely given consent.
Despite our aspirations, recent studies have revealed how on average, 1 in 10 students face sexual violence within an academic environment. Compounding these ills is despite the best efforts by universities to develop awareness campaigns and introduce confidential counsellors. Many students are unaware of how to file a complaint about unwanted behaviour or, sadly, the broader support that institutions such as EUR can provide.
These shocking findings only confirm common knowledge for many; and are sadly reinforced by the mountain of anecdotal evidence within our academic communities. It underlines that we have a long way to go to ensure our Eurasian community is the supportive and safe environment that we want it to be.
Fundamentally we are eager to work towards a culture of prevention at EUR and central to achieving that is through greater knowledge and education about sex and social safety, as individuals and as an institution. It means working together to co-develop support systems that are robust, visible and useful.
For that reason, we have joined partner institutions in signing the manifesto that commits our community to condemn unwanted behaviour and redoubles our efforts to eliminate sexual violence in all its forms. We are keen to endorse and implement its recommendations and continue to build a safe environment for our community.
Nonetheless, signing this manifesto alone does not solve this problem nor provide security and safety to those who do not feel so. It requires greater dialogue, understanding and action.
Consequently, by listening to our community, our diversity and inclusion office has developed a clear action plan for tackling sexual violence at EUR. It has established contacts with other engaged stakeholders, from the City of Rotterdam to our student population. We have signed manifestos against street intimidation.
These actions have been achieved by increasing dialogue with our student population; sustaining these efforts, however, requires the commitment of all in our community. This way, as Erasmians, we can ensure that we all enjoy the dignity as individuals that we deserve and the safe learning environment that we all need.