Time to Reflect and Take Action

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We think we speak for all members of our Institute community in expressing the sadness and revulsion we feel on the shocking murder of Ashling Murphy.

The fact that Aishling was a teacher and so recently a student in higher education brings this closer to our community.

Violence against women is a very dangerous societal problem. We all have a role to play in tackling this. IT Sligo and the Atlantic Technological University are taking steps to tackle sexual violence and harassment.

A new University Sexual Violence and Harassment Policy is under development, and we expect that the Governing Body of the new university will approve this policy on Designation Day, 1st April 2022. This will be the first new policy of our new University and as such this will give a very clear signal that sexual violence and harassment are not acceptable in our university and that our university is committed to providing a safe, respectful and supportive environment to work and study in, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. The policy will set out the actions our university will take in promoting this culture, including training and awareness raising, a number of which are already underway, such as the Active*Consent workshops for students and Consent and Disclosure training provided to staff by Sligo Rape Crisis Centre (details available at Consent – Institute of Technology Sligo (itsligo.ie).

A recently launched online anonymous reporting tool Speak Out allows students and staff to report incidents of sexual violence and harassment and provides details of supports available. We would ask all of you to support and participate in these initiatives when you have the opportunity.

The partners of the Atlantic Technological University have also committed to developing a Domestic Violence and Abuse Leave Policy. This policy will offer help and support to members of staff who have suffered or are suffering from domestic violence or abuse. In the interim, any member of staff in this position can discuss their situation, in confidence, with the HR Office so that help and support can be provided.

Perhaps the term “watershed moment” is overly used, but let us all as members of both the Institute Community and as citizens, redouble our efforts to ensure we do what we can to challenge a culture which tolerates any form of sexual harassment and violence.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Aishling’s family, friends, pupils and colleagues during this difficult time.

Brendan McCormack, President IT Sligo

Jacqueline McCormack, VP Online and Co-Chair of Consent Framework Working Group

Michele Glacken, VP Academic Affairs and Co-Chair of Consent Framework Working Group

Jackie O’Toole, Chair of Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team

Tom Reilly, EDI Manager

Support for people affected by sexual violence and harassment is available from;

Women’s Aid 1800 341 900

Sligo Rape Crisis Centre 1800 750 758

Domestic Violence Advocacy Service 071 9141515