Sexual consent lessons for students after rape claims

University of St AndrewsImage source, Getty Images

Students at St Andrews University are to be given compulsory lessons about sexual consent after it was hit by rape allegations.

Dozens of anonymous allegations about sexual misconduct at the university have been posted on an Instagram account called St Andrews Survivors.

A fraternity at St Andrews University has also suspended a number of its members in relation to the allegations.

The university said its primary concern was to support survivors.

Police Scotland said it was aware of the online reports and was working with the university.

St Andrews' vice-principal of education has met the founder of the Instagram account and has urged people affected to report the allegations.

Posts on the St Andrews Survivors Instagram page, not all of which relate to the university, contain accounts of sexual assault, harassment and rape.

The Daily Telegraph has also reported there have been nine separate rape claims made against students in the St Andrews' branch of US-style fraternity body known as Alpha Epsilon Pi.

A statement on the group's Facebook page, posted on 3 July, said it would suspend all members facing allegations and introduce its own "anti-rape culture education" into new member programmes.

It added: "We find the content of these allegations abhorrent and we take them extremely seriously.

"The fraternity unconditionally opposes, and its conditions of membership absolutely prohibit, any conduct considered sexual harassment or sexual assault."

'Responsibility and respect'

The compulsory orientation module for the upcoming academic year will require all St Andrews students to learn more about consent and sexual assault before matriculating.

A spokeswoman for the university pointed out that not all testimonies published by St Andrews Survivors relate to alleged offences committed at the Fife institution.

She added: "We welcome the 'St Andrews Survivors' account's efforts to provide people of all genders a space to voice their experiences of sexual misconduct.

"The university's primary concern is to ensure survivors know that we are ready and willing to support their decisions and take action, facilitate police reporting, and provide ongoing support accordingly.

"The university will always act when incidents are formally reported, and is committed to working collaboratively with students to promote a culture of responsibility and respect."

Yvonne Stenhouse, Police Scotland's community inspector for North East Fife, said: "We are aware of these online reports and are working with the university to make sure students in St Andrews feel safe while they live and study in the town."

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