At almost all the Welcome Desks around campus, you will find a security guard who is there to support students and staff. If you ever feel uncomfortable, speak to one of these members of staff and they will do their best to help you. Secondly, if you are lost or simply need some help, feel free to ask and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Safety on nights out
If you’re at The George Birkbeck bar and feel uncomfortable or vulnerable, ask for Angela. They will discreetly speak with you and provide you with assistance. Many bars in and around London may have this initiative too. Remember it’s always a good idea to let a friend or family member know if you’re heading on a night out by yourself or with someone you don’t know too well (like a first date) to ensure they are able to check up on you and keep you safe. Some parts of London are not as well-lit at night-time so try and stick to main roads, streets, and areas with better lighting to ensure another layer of protection. As Birkbeck is in central London there are a few bars and clubs located near the campus which may be open later, so please always be aware of intoxicated people on your way home. Making sure you know how you are going to get home is also key in ensuring another level of safety.
Consent, what does this mean?
Consent is a sensitive topic but one that does need to be addressed.
Consent is defined as agreeing by choice and having the freedom and capacity to make that choice without the influence of another person, substance, or other external actor. This means consent comes with affirmation and enthusiasm, and importantly CAN BE WITHDRAWN at any time for any reason. Remember, just because someone didn’t say no, doesn’t mean that they have consented.
There must not be any threats, pressure or coercion when obtaining consent. The person must not be unconscious or affected by alcohol or drugs as this legally and morally impairs their ability to freely consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, even during the act. You always have the right to change your mind, and no one can take this away from you.
Sex WITHOUT CONSENT is SEXUAL VIOLENCE. This includes if sexual acts continue following the withdrawal of consent, unless consent has once again been granted without persuasion, or any other influence stemming from outside the person consenting’s conscious decision. We know it may seem awkward to ask the question, but when we are talking about something very personal, we should always ask for consent.
The best way to avoid confusion, awkwardness, or worse, is always to be open and honest with your partner. A conversation about consent might seem awkward but understanding one another and what your sexual relationship looks like is one of the most important aspects of a healthy, sexual relationship.
One great analogy of consent is that of tea and can be found HERE
Be an active Bystander
If you’re on Campus and something doesn’t seem right, let a staff member know straight away. We know it's not best to just jump into any situation, but if you feel it's safe to do so you can challenge that behaviour in a way that is safe and appropriate. By simply providing support for those who are affected, helping those in need and challenging those bad behaviour’s we can make our campus safer and better for all our students. In an emergency always call 999 or if you need to report a crime that is not an emergency call 101, or if you are using a Birkbeck internal phone dial 555.
If you see your friends or family acting differently, make sure to show them you care. Think about how you would like someone to look after you when you’re not feeling your best and think about the best way to show your support.
Birkbeck Report, Support and Complaints options
There are several ways the University are here to support you with complaints, report, and many different support options. If you are in need head to the Birkbeck University Website. The student union has an Academic Support service which can walk you through the procedure and offer support through this process. For more information, click HERE
Spaces to rest around campus
Spaces to rest around campus
Remember to take breaks and not put too much pressure on yourself while you’re studying. But if you do find yourself a bit overwhelmed there are places around campus you can rest and take a break. A full list of student spaces can be found HERE. You can also speak to any staff member located in that area if you are in a more serious situation. Make sure you look after your own belongings on campus to combat any risk of theft or pickpocketing.
We are an Evening University!
Most classes at Birkbeck are in the evening, so this means in the winter you will be leaving University in the dark. It is always best to plan your way home before you leave your lecture. There are some lights outside the main Campus, but this may not be the case in other locations surrounding this and other buildings. Leaving in the dark also means you may be cold as you set off home, so make sure you have a jacket that is warm enough!
Remember that it's always best to have planned your way home after university, but especially after a night out. Make sure you only use pre-booked taxis in order to stay safe. If you need help booking one speak to the welcome desk and they will be able to help you. For more information about transport, you can head to our cost-of-living page.