Continued Calls for a Safer Campus as AUT Begins Implementing Review Recommendations

By Justin Hu (he/him)

CW: Sexual misconduct



A second-year student is calling for student action against sexual assault and for improvements to make campuses safer for students.

The call for action comes as AUT begins implementing recommendations of an external review into its handling of harassment on campus, including an interim code of conduct for postgraduate students.

Politics student Hannah Falconer says that students need facilitated safe spaces on campus and more support services.

“Having the support system is creating safe spaces in uni for people who need to maybe escape from people they don't want to see.

“As an example, what happens if you get into a relationship with someone in your class, they turn out to be abusive and you're stuck with them. What do you do then?”


Falconer is calling for AUT to organise student support groups with professional facilitation, dedicated safe spaces on campus and better access to drug testing.

Running support groups means finding the right people to run them because you can't just have another student running support for heavy topics.

“You need a professional who is trained to understand these situations and to respond to these scenarios. That is why I think they're hesitant to start. You can participate, you can tell your story, but to respond to it, to listen to it, to acknowledge it. That's difficult.”

Falconer says she’s met with AUTSA and said that the organisation was interested in helping organise projects to help address the issue. She told Debate that she wants other students to join her in collective protest about the issues. AUT’s external review, carried about by Kate Davenport QC, found that the university had an ongoing bullying issue among staff, but did not see significant issues with how it handled cases of student harassment and bullying.

Falconer disagreed with the report, saying that she felt that student issues were unique and should be treated differently to staff.

Falconer disagreed with the report, saying that she felt that student issues were unique and should be treated differently to staff.

“A lot of students don't know where they can go, what they can do to talk about what's happening. They don't have the voice to speak up, so a lot of them go unseen and unheard. They don't talk to anyone about it and no one knows. So I think there's a lot less of that.”

AUT’s external review, carried about by Kate Davenport QC, found that the university had an ongoing bullying issue among staff, but did not see significant issues with how it handled cases of student harassment and bullying.

Following the publication of the Davenport review, AUT has begun the implementation of some of the report’s recommendations.


All of the report’s recommendations had been accepted by the university at the time the report was released.

Davenport recommended all students should be mandated to take a training module on appropriate behaviour and consent following anecdotal student reports of misconduct in halls of residences.

An interim code of conduct has also been implemented for postgraduate students after concerns were raised by staff following the release of the Davenport review.

New rules now in force codify that it’s inappropriate for PhD students and their supervisors to drink alcohol during supervision meetings. These meetings between staff and students must now also happen in public or in a room with a door open.

Concluding the interview, Falconer said that she wanted students to reach out if they felt they wanted to help with making practical changes in raising awareness.

“I know that I have friends in advertising who want to create posters. Some of my other friends do event management, so they want to help with that.”

“Students can do anything, they just need the right push and so anyone who's willing to help contact me."

To get in contact with Hannah Falconer, her email is hefalconer@gmail.com.