Do Better Academia is a group of volunteers who help students, academic and non-academic staff who experienced wrongdoing in universities and who campaign for accountability in universities. We have been working with Members of the UK Parliament and we were invited to submit our consultation paper to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Whistleblowing. We also work with the media to expose wrongdoing, incompetence and corruption in universities.
Sometimes university students experience
- Academic problems and complaints: anything from the quality of teaching, to your university changing your course, to poor quality facilities like accommodation or any shortcoming from your university.
- Harassment and Bullying from teachers, tutors, professors or any university staff, or other students.
- Sexual Harassment in any form against female and male students or staff.
- Academic Discrimination against students or staff by the university.
Sadly, this is not uncommon. If this is you, you are not alone: there are hundreds of other people who are or have been in a similar situation. This can happen to anyone: victims of wrongdoing can be rich, poor and from any background. Universities do not discriminate when it comes to inflicting wrongdoing and many of the victims did not think that wrongdoing would happen to them.
This led an academic to comment:
How do universities get away with so much wrongdoing with impunity?
Because of the huge imbalance of power between them and the complainant and because they control the investigation process. Silencing complainants through bullying, gaslighting, isolation and blame, as well as rigging investigations are the classic weapons that universities use against complanaints. That universities can - and do - rig investigations and the legal process has been admitted by both Intersol (a company hired by universities to do investigations) and by a group of lawyers:
And again, the former head of an Oxford college remarked: "Institutions are tempted to put their own reputation ahead of the allegations, and dealing with something that has an impact on the lives of individuals. They try and find ways of burying it and dealing with it in a secretive way. We know this, it’s about silencing the complaint." (Oxford University 'must investigate sexual harassment by staff on students' amid fears of unreported cases, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC former head of Mansfield College, Oxford)
It is evident that systemic change in the university sector is desperately needed: how can we expect universities to regulate themselves when they have created an epidemic of wrongdoing in the first place and have created a rigged system in which they cover up wrongdoing?
How can Complainants Defend Themselves from University Wrongoing and Rigged Investigations?
Help for Students is a not-for-profit community space where you can find
- Help and Advice in dealing with sexual misconduct, bullying, discrimination and other academic complaints.
- Articles on university wrongdoing.
- Make a concrete difference in changing the way university complaints are dealt with: here is our campaign to add accountability to how universities operate.
British students spend thousands of pounds in tuition fees, accommodation and so on. It is not uncommon that students experience problems with their course, are discriminated against, harassed or bullied or sexually harassed. Just because traditionally universities have been able to get away with providing a substandard service to students, or harass and discriminate against, students and staff, it does not mean it is right or it should continue. It does not mean you should accept it and not assert your rights: you have the right to feel safe and secure and to be respected, you are paying or have paid your fees and you have the right to expect your university keeps its side of bargain.
If you have any suggestions on expert advice or questions about this site, get in touch and we'll do our best to add it to the website. In the meantime, if you have any advice or any experience, please share your advice or your experience with the community: you can help others in a similar situation.