The University are in the process of overhauling their policy on sexual assault, just weeks after the PhD student Pasquale Galianni was sent to prison for sexually assaulting two students.
Currently with the police for approval, the University hopes that this new policy will be passed soon.
The updated policy will reflect the latest advice of all women’s groups, councillors, the police and health services.
Whilst the University are in the process of changing their policy on sexual assault, however, their webpage on advice for victims has been taken down.
Support pages for various other personal matters such as depression and stress include links to helpful e-books and websites. The link to the advice page on sexual assault and harassment, however, currently does not work.
A spokesperson for the University said: “Our priority is to make sure that students who may have experienced sexual violence receive the support they need. Providing those students with out-of-date or confusing advice is simply not an option.
“A thorough up-date of policies and practices requires a process of consultation and review. We are progressing this with some urgency and up-to-date, enhanced guidance will be available shortly.
“But in the meantime it is important that advice is simple and clear we would encourage any student who has experienced sexual assault or harassment of any kind to contact Student Services. They don’t need to make that approach in person, they can email or telephone if preferred, and anonymity is guaranteed (as far as legally possible).”
Stina Wassen, FemSoc coordinator, said: “I think it is unfortunate that the University has taken the old information down so as to leave a blank page until providing new and updated information.
“However, I think it’s very positive that the University continuously works with how to best help those students who have been victims of sexual assault. I hope and believe that the University did not intend this to happen and that new information will be up shortly.
“With that said, I think the University and its student body should talk much more about sexual assault than it is currently doing. Sexual harassment is a widespread problem and St Andrews is no exemption. In addition to discussing how the University and the Union can best help survivors of sexual assault, we should talk more about lad culture and how it is perpetuated both with in some of the sports teams as well as through events such as FS and DONT WALK. “
The University spokesperson continued, saying: “The needs of students are central to the development of our policies and protocols. They are already informing our process of review through input from service users and the Students’ Association. However if students are struggling
to find any relevant information, or would like to suggest information we could helpfully make available in the meantime, we’ll be happy to listen to their suggestions.”
Pasquale Galianni, who was an Astronomy PhD student at the University, was sentenced to five years in prison and expelled from the University earlier this month. He sexually assaulted two female students in November 2013 and April 2014.
There were alleged reports of sexual assault at the University between 2009 and 2013. Three of these were alleged to have taken place on University property, the rest are alleged to have occurred off campus. Of these, 15 were reported to the police.