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**Content note: discussion of sexual harassment, mentions of assault and rape.

Sexual harassment and sexual violence are serious problems across the country. The Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment campaign represents UCLU’s attempt to tackle these problems at a grassroots level. We believe that we all have a duty to challenge harassment and violence when we see them; when we are silent about these issues, we become complicit in them.

What is sexual harassment?

Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment Pledge for Departments

Did your Department sign up for Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment?

History of the Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment campaign

Next steps for the Zero Tolerance campaign

How does UCLU (the Union) deal with cases of sexual harassment?

How does UCL (the University) deal with cases of sexual harassment?

Who at UCLU can I contact to report or discuss incidents of sexual harassment?

External support

Contact Us

Sign ups for departmental Active Bystander workshops for 17/18 are now closed, if you have any further queries please email

What is sexual harassment?

When we talk about sexual harassment, we often have a very narrow definition of what it might involve. Sexual harassment is not just about physical touching or groping - the term can also be applied to any unwanted and persistent behaviour of a sexual nature.

Sexual harassment therefore includes but is not limited to:

  • Unwanted sexual comments (including comments about someone’s body or private life).
  • Unwelcome sexual invitations, innuendos, and offensive gestures.
  • Wolf whistling, catcalling, or offensive sexual noises.
  • Groping, pinching or smacking someone’s body.
  • Tugging, pulling or lifting up someone’s clothing.
  • Exposure of sexual organs.
  • Demands for sexual acts/favours.
  • Stalking.

We believe that everyone has a duty to challenge sexual harassment and that everyone has a responsibility to make our Union a safe space for all students. If we ignore sexual harassment, we are complicit in it.

Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment Pledge for Departments


The Union and UCL are committed to fighting sexual harassment. We understand that we all have a responsibility to make our University a safe space for all students and staff. Sexual harassment is any unwanted and/or persistent behaviour of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to:

  • Sexual comments (including comments about someone’s body or private life).

  • Sexual invitations, innuendos, and offensive gestures.

  • Wolf whistling, catcalling, or offensive sexual noises.

  • Groping, pinching or smacking someone’s body.

  • Tugging, pulling or lifting up someone’s clothing.

  • Exposure of sexual organs.

  • Stalking.

We, as a department, pledge:

  • To never tolerate, condone or ignore sexual harassment of any kind.
  • To educate students and staff about sexual harassment and why it’s never ok.
  • To support students and staff when they talk about, report or challenge sexual harassment
    • This includes making appropriate adjustments to ensure that those who have experienced sexual harassment or violence are supported in continuing their studies or work with as little disruption as possible.
  • To actively challenge the culture within which sexual harassment happens

Support Documents for Departments 

Guidance document


UCL Institute of Ophthalmology Bullying and Harassment Poster

Did your department sign up for Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment? 

Note: achievement of the Zero Tolerance award by a department means they have completed all requirements of the 2016/17 pledge.

Achieved the award Working towards the award Did not sign up for 2016/17
Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering Anthropology Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry
School of Pharmacy Bartlett School of Architecture Development Planning Unit
Political Science Bartlett School of Planning UCL Medical School
Division of Biosciences Centre for Languages and International Education Bartlett School of Graduate Studies
Science and Technology Studies Chemistry Institute for Global Prosperity
Greek and Latin CoMPLEX Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit
Statistical Science Culture, Communication and Media Economics
Security and Crime Science Division of Infection and Immunity Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management
Division of Surgery and Interventional Science Division of Psychiatry Cancer Institute
Institute for Women’s Health Division of Psychology and Language Sciences Space and Climate Physics
Mathematics History Institute of Child Health
Chemical Engineering Information Studies Education, Practice and Society
Computer Science Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources
Earth Sciences Institute of Health Informatics Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
English Language and Literature Institute of Neurology Division of Medicine
Geography Institute of Ophthalmology Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
School of European Languages, Culture and Society Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy Eastman Dental Institute
Institute of the Americas   Institute for Global Health
Hebrew and Jewish Studies   European Social and Political Studies
Mechanical Engineering   History of Art
Physics and Astronomy   Humanities and Social Sciences
UCL School of Management   Institute of Cardiovascular Science
Ear Institute   Learning and Leadership
Institute of Archaeology   London Centre for Leadership in Learning
Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology   Natural Sciences
Laws   Philosophy
Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care   Psychology and Human Development
Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering   Sainsbury Wellcome Centre
Biochemical Engineering   Slade School of Fine Art
Electronic and Electrical Engineering   Social Science
    SSEES - School of Slavonic and East European Studies

History of the Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment Campaign

December 2012 – Students’ Union UCL first adopts a Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment policy at Union Council.

January 2014 – The Union holds a launch event for the Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment campaign.

September 2014 - The Women’s Officer launches a Zero Tolerance pledge for clubs and societies. Over 160 sign the pledge and receive a badge for their Welcome Fair stall, as well as an online badge.

October 2014 – The Women’s Officer updates and re-passes the Zero Tolerance policy.

November 2014 – The Women’s Officer develops Active Bystander Workshops, and launches a Zero Tolerance Pledge for UCL Students and Staff.

December 2014 – The Women’s Network runs Zero Tolerance Fortnight, two weeks of action around the campaign. This involves: the WriteBack exhibition, a vigil to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, a spoken word night, Active Bystander Workshops, and over 25 volunteers giving up their time to talk to students about the campaign.

May 2015 – The Women’s Officer presents UCL with a paper entitled Zero Tolerance: Challenging Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence at UCL, laying out a series of recommendations for how UCL can challenge sexual harassment and sexual violence on its campus.

June 2015 – Over 120 society presidents and treasurers receive Zero Tolerance training and keep or gain a Zero Tolerance badge.

July 2015 – Students’ Union UCL launches the Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment Pledge for Departments. 44 departments sign the Pledge.

September - November 2015 - Incoming students from 30 different UCL departments receive Union Active Bystander training as part of the Zero Tolerance Pledge for UCL Departments.

November 2015 - The Women’s Officer presents the UCL Equality and Diversity Committee with an action plan, detailing actions UCL needs to take in order to challenge sexual harassment and sexual violence across the institution. The plan is approved, with the recommendation that it be taken to the UCL Senior Management Team (SMT) for final approval.

January 2016 - The Women’s Officer presents the Union’s Zero Tolerance action plan to a meeting of the UCL SMT. The plan is formally approved, and work begins on the various points of the plan.

April 2016 - Students’ Union UCL holds an awards ceremony for the 16 departments who successfully completed the 2015/16 Pledge for Departments. Sign-ups for departments wishing to hold Zero Tolerance workshops for incoming students in the 2016/17 academic year open. 48 departments sign up to host workshops.

July 2016 - UCL agrees to donate £24K of funding to the campaign over the next three years.

September - November 2016 - New students from 37 departments receive Union Active Bystander training as part of the Zero Tolerance pledge for UCL departments.

October 2016 - The Women’s Officer updates and re-passes the Zero Tolerance policy. This includes the stipulation that Zero Tolerance training for society presidents and treasurers is now compulsory. The UUK Tackling Violence Against Women, Harassment and Hate Crime report is released, creating an incentive for universities around the country to engage with anti-harassment initiatives.

February 2017 - The Women’s Officer and team review the pledge, and begin to create toolkits for departments to enable them to tackle the wider culture around sexual harassment, and improving how incidents of harassment are handled by the department.

March 2017 - Zero Tolerance working group updated the UCL Zero Tolerance Action Plan to reflect progress made and areas that need attention.

April 2017 - Students’ Union UCL launches the Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment Pledge for Departments for the 2017/18 academic year.

Next steps for the Zero Tolerance campaign

In July 2015 the first phase of our cooperation with UCL on this campaign began, with the Zero Tolerance Pledge for Departments. In total, 44 departments signed up to the Pledge, with 30 able to arrange some workshops for their incoming students and 16 successfully completing all aspects of the Pledge. Five student trainers were hired by UCLU, and gave over 150 workshop to over 2,200 new students.

In January 2016, UCL committed to put into practice UCLU’s proposed action plan for combating sexual harassment and sexual violence on campus. This plan commits UCL to continue to hold Zero Tolerance workshops for incoming students; to improve training available for staff; to work with specialist external organisations to improve support for students experiencing sexual violence; and to change policy to make it explicit that the university holds a zero tolerance stance toward sexual harassment and sexual violence. More information on this agreement and a copy of the plan can be found here

Going forward, the Union will continue to work with UCL to offer our Zero Tolerance training for incoming students - however, in future years, we hope that this becomes standard practice across the university, rather than an opt-in for dedicated departments only. We will also be working with UCL to develop training and resources for staff to further understanding of sexual harassment and how it can be dealt with across the institution.

Students’ Union UCL will also be working alongside the NUS Women’s Campaign, who announced their collaboration with the lobby and research group, the 1752 Group, to investigate and provide a comprehensive public report on sexual misconduct between students and staff. The Union welcome this opportunity to open up a new section of the campaign. This is an issue that has become increasingly apparent at UCL, in part due to the awareness raising element of the Zero Tolerance campaign.

How does the Union deal with cases of sexual harassment?

Students’ Union UCL has a firm Zero Tolerance stance towards any form of sexual harassment and this means that we will not tolerate it in any of our spaces or at any of our events. Anyone who commits any form of sexual harassment will be immediately removed from our venues and may be disciplined for their actions. We at the Students’ Union will always take reports and concerns of sexual harassment and assault extremely seriously, always believing the word of those who have been harassed and/or those who are survivors of assault. We will deal with such incidences confidentially and as quickly as possible.

If you experience sexual harassment whilst at the union or union-run events:

  • You can report the incident(s) to any member of security or area supervisor/manager and they will take the details of the perpetrator and they will immediately be removed from the building. Staff will also inform you as to how to follow up on the complaint.
  • We would also encourage you if you feel you need, to talk to either the Women’s Officer or Welfare and International Officer.

How does UCL (the University) deal with cases of sexual harassment?

UCL recognises that it is unacceptable for any person at UCL, whether staff or student, to be subjected to sexual harassment. UCL encourages those who experience sexual harassment to discuss their concerns with the following persons, the report of which will be kept confidential.

Any person you may decide to approach should discuss the incident(s) with you in a quiet place confidentially without interruption and advise you further on the formal procedures that UCL can offer.

You can also report sexual harassment to the University via the online reporting form.

Who at UCLU can I contact to report or discuss incidents of sexual harassment?

You can contact the Women’s Officer ( ) or the Welfare and International Officer (, who will advise you on how to follow up with complaints and can direct you to both internal and external support services. If you feel comfortable meeting in person, please feel free to stop by the Sabbatical office on the 4th floor of 25 Gordon Street.

You can alternatively visit the Rights and Advice Centre on the First Floor, 15 Gordon Street or call 020 7679 2998 or email

External Support

  • In some circumstances you may wish to contact the police, in an emergency call 999 or in a non-emergency situation call 101. You can also visit your local police station (you may wish to take a friend/partner/or member of your family with you for support).
  • If you experience sexual harassment or assault on London public transport you can report the incident to a member of the Transport for London staff immediately, or after the incident you can Freephone 0800405040 or text 61016.
  • In cases of rape we would encourage you to seek support from Rape Crisis (for women and girls) or Survivors UK (for men and boys).
  • You can also speak confidentially to a member of the Nightline Service team on open from 6pm-8am every night of term.
  • The Samaritans helpline is completely confidential and open 24 hours a day. Call 08457 90 90 90.  

Contact Us

UCL Zero Tolerance inbox:

Project Lead:

Sinéad Booth, UCLU Representation and Campaigns (Welfare)

Sabbatical Lead:

Women’s Officer

Lead officer: 
Attached file(s): 
PDF icon bullying_and_harassment_poster_v2.pdf251.92 KB