Student Group Rejects Mediation Request after Receiving Over 100 Anonymous Claims of Sexual Assault
Wednesday, August, 19, 2020
The newly formed student group St. Andrews Survivors, created to highlight the problems with sexual assault on campus at St. Andrews University, turned down a request for mediation submitted to the group by the university. The group claims it received more than 100 claims of assault or abuse within its first 30 hours in existence.
The group went public with the mediation request on its website claiming the university’s head of mediation and well-being made the request. According to the request, mediation sessions would be confidential, which is something the group does not want to happen.
According to a spokesperson for the group, “Under the terms of strict confidentiality presented to us, we would not be able to disclose any of the contents of our ‘mediation’ meetings to others. We do not feel safe or comfortable engaging in these discussions under confidentiality. The university has yet to make a public statement acknowledging the issue of sexual abuse in our community that has recently been brought to light. Of all our concerns, we simply cannot budge on the issue of confidentiality. Under confidentiality, we would not be able to transparent with you all about the progress being made or openly collect feedback from the voices we want to inform these changes.”
The school stated that the group was not asked to sign a confidentiality agreement.
According to the school, the suggestion for confidential mediation was well-intentioned and designed to keep everyone involved in allegations on both sides safe and protected. The school acknowledged the trauma involved in such events and pointed out that discussions about assault allegations involved “deeply personal information.”
The school claims its head of mediation and well-being has been involved in creating gender-based violence policies and brings a “trauma-informed approach” to the mediation process.