Originially posted on The Student Journals: http://studentjournals.co.uk/2014/12/uclu-shuts-down-writeback-exhibition-to-censor-claim-member-of-staff-sexually-harassed-student/
An exhibition designed to encourage UCL students to share experiences of sexual harassment has been shut down by the University after a former student wrote that she had been sexually abused by a member of its staff.
WriteBack!, in line with the NUS’ 16 Days of Activism, was meant to stay open until the 10 December 2014 but was closed after just two days by UCL management and the room was locked, pending investigation.
UCLU’s Women’s Officer Annie Tidbury was called in and told to completely remove the post by UCL’s Vice Provost Rex Knight. Annie refused on the grounds that ‘every student has the right for their experiences to be heard.’
“I’ve said that I will redact one word to prevent the staff member from potentially being identified but I’ve refused to go any further,” Annie tells TSJ. “The whole purpose of WriteBack! was to empower students to talk about their experiences – UCL is seeking to silence them.”
Exhibition organiser, the Women’s Network, released this statement and students protested on Thursday night outside North Lodge.
Around 30 students protested the closure outside the exhibition. “We held a silent demonstration and around 30 students with their mouths taped shut lined the way to the room holding candles.”
“It was really powerful and lots of people stopped to express shock at what UCL were doing,” Annie adds.
“It’s really terrible that UCL have shut the WriteBack! room down. It’s been closed for two days now – who knows how many students have been prevented from taking part in the exhibition,” says Annie.