Safe Space Policy
Aston Students’ Union (ASU) recognises that discrimination excludes certain groups whilst providing others with unequal power. The safe space policy is designed to protect oppressed groups and enable their full participation in the students’ union. ASU is committed to operating as a space which is inclusive and supportive in which no forms of discrimination are tolerated. All staff and students should feel confident to challenge any acts of discriminations they encounter in the Students’ Union, including but not limited to; racism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, or prejudice based on age, ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, gender presentation, language ability, immigration status, pregnancy, illness, marital status, sex, disability or religious affiliation. A safe space policy is all about creating an open and welcoming environment within our Union so that all our members feel able to participate. With this in mind we ask all students, staff and visitors to adhere to the guidelines below and speak up if they have any concerns.
Safe Space Guidelines
1. Please be aware of what you say and how it might be interpreted. Many slang words have other discriminatory meanings, which can provide good cause to be mindful of your audience when speaking to a group or around the building.
2. Try not to make assumptions about anyone’s gender, pronouns, sexual preference, abilities, ethnic identity, survivor status, or life experiences. Always make sure you are not derogatory to anyone about these things.
3. Feel confident to challenge hateful, discriminatory, or oppressive language if you see it. We all have a social responsibility and a responsibility to speak up against discrimination, as well as the right to be in a comfortable environment.
4. Following on from the last point, if you are challenged, take time to talk through how the person has interpreted what you said and why it might have offended them.
5. Respect each other, both for your similarities and your differences.
6. Try not to take discussions personally. Stay professional about anything said in meetings, considering the implications of your words or actions when angry.
7. Learn from your peers, explore new cultures or ways of life which are different from your own experiences through conversations or sharing.
8. Free speech is important, but harassment, hostility and aggression will not be tolerated in the Union. Any of these acts, with sufficient evidence, will be treated in the same way as the University – with disciplinary procedures.
ASU recognises discrimination can occur wherever it is not consciously challenged.
Upholding this policy is a collective responsibility and people should be confident in challenging any behaviour which contravenes this policy. Council also, however, recognise that individuals should be responsible for their own behaviour.
Should you feel that the policy has been breached and appropriate action was not taken at the time, speak to the event organiser, one of the elected officers of the union, managers, a member of staff, or head of security. All concerns will be taken seriously and dealt with in accordance with our disciplinary procedures.