QMU still doesn’t have its own sexual misconduct policy

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Credit: Kirsten Colligan

Hamish Morrison & Georgina Hayes
News Editor & Editor

The agreement does not elaborate on what qualifies as “serious unacceptable behaviour”, nor does it make clear how perceived “less serious” cases will be handled

The Queen Margaret Union has not followed up on its own internal policy review, which QMU President Mata Durkin announced last year following a Glasgow Guardian story which found the Union had no policy relating to sexual misconduct.

While the QMU and the University have now decided in principle to report any future matters of student conduct cases relating to “serious unacceptable behaviour in the Union” straight to the University Senate Office, this has always been expected under the University’s Dignity at Work and Study Policy. This agreement also does not elaborate on what qualifies as “serious unacceptable behaviour”, nor does it make clear how perceived “less serious” cases will be handled.

In October of last year, the QMU announced an overhaul of the Union’s disciplinary procedures, which Durkin called “no longer fit for purpose”. The statement claimed that “in an effort to learn from this incident so that it does not happen again”, the QMU would begin work on reviewing and changing its reporting and disciplinary procedures “effective immediately”, in particular the guidelines pertaining to “severity of punishments, the disparity between treatment of board members and ordinary members, and issues regarding election regulations.”

This review was overseen in conjunction with David Duncan, the Chief Operating Officer of the University of Glasgow, who announced a joint review between the QMU and other University student associations of policies regarding bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct, which he hoped would “ensure consistency, fairness and rigour.” This policy overhaul was due to be completed by the end of last semester.

Although Duncan and the QMU have agreed in principle that all serious cases regarding conduct within the Union will now be reported straight to the University’s Senate Office, the QMU still has not created its own robust policy regarding sexual misconduct – something that both GUSA and the GUU have in place. This means that presumably it is board members of the QMU who decide whether a case gets reported to the University Senate, which had been previously flagged up as a procedural issue.

The Glasgow Guardian has approached the University on whether they believe that the Union agreeing to report instances of serious misconduct to the University Senate is enough without having its own robust policy, but it is our understanding that the University does not think it necessary for the QMU to have its own sexual misconduct policy.