Training on sexual harassment for UNE student leaders

Published 30 June 2016

An innovative new play “Just askin’ for it” is being used to train University of New England student leaders in how to deal with sexual harassment and alcohol abuse on campus.

A/Prof Liz Ellis (centre) and the cast of Just askin' for it

A/Prof Liz Ellis (centre) and the cast of Just askin’ for it

Written by Associate Professor Elizabeth Ellis, originally for Armidale’s Favourite Shorts festival, the play acts to raise awareness of sexual harassment and alcohol abuse, and links into training for student leaders to enable them to know how to act, who to contact and how to be an ethical bystander.

“Drama entertains us but can also act as a provocation and I’m hoping that is what the play will do,” A/Prof Ellis said.

“It can play with ideas that make us think whether the reality we live with every day is in fact the only way things have to be.”

In February, UNE partnered with other Australian Universities on the Respect. Now. Always. campaign – a national initiative that highlights the determination of universities to ensure the safety of all students and staff.

Annette Stevenson

Annette Stevenson

“Just askin’ for it” complements Respect. Now. Always. and adds an educational element to the campaign,” A/Prof Ellis said.

“Student leaders are in a powerful position to raise awareness of sexual harassment issues amongst students.

“By training student leaders we are taking the next step to ensure safety and respect are central to our college and university culture.”

Annette Stevenson, Senior Counsellor UNE, and Kathie Hunt, Head of Earl Page College, led the discussion with student leaders on the issues raised in the play.

The pilot training session will now be evaluated and modified in light of participant feedback in order to develop a model for ongoing offering.