#NeverOK – what does it mean and how can I use it?
A boost in independence is one of the key features of students’ transition between living at home and staying in university accommodation.
There’s no more mum asking you to put your washing away, no more dad tutting when you’re still in your pyjamas at noon, and no more teachers chasing you around the corridors to ask for your hall pass.
However, although there are many perks of this new independence, there are also aspects of university life which students might struggle with during this transition. These might include things such as where to go when you need a doctor or dentist, how to find advice on topics including studying, finances, and everyday household skills, and most importantly- where to go for welfare support.
The University understands that not everyone will be comfortable speaking to their housemates about welfare issues during the first term, and that’s why they have campus staff trained specifically for helping students through various personal difficulties, no matter how big or small.
The Student Welfare Team runs a drop-in service in the Carrington building Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm where you can go along to and speak to someone in person.
There is also the option of emailing the team at email@example.com and asking to arrange an appointment with one of the Welfare Officers.
The officers will talk with you to understand the support that you need, while also giving you helpful information and sign posting you to specialist advice services.
Another important line of support at the University is the #NeverOk welfare campaign, jointly launched by the University and RUSU during November last year.
#NeverOk is RUSU’s zero tolerance campaign towards bullying, harassment or discrimination and was designed to encourage students to report any inappropriate behaviour that they witness or are affected by.
Such behaviour includes abuse, anti-social behaviour, hate crime, racism, sexual harassment, and physical violence which the RUSU’s Zero Tolerance Policy outlines.
Commenting on the project, 2019-20 Welfare Officer Gemma King said: “Students can report incidents by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org after which they will be contacted by a member of the welfare team who will support and guide them to further support.
“If you are feeling anxious or vulnerable when walking across campus on your own there is also a chaperone service available. Call 0118 378 7799 and security can watch you on CCTV to ensure you are safe on your journey.”
Security should also be called when someone is being aggressive or threatening towards you or someone you are in the company of, so that support can be distributed as quickly as possible. However, if there is an immediate threat to someone’s safety, you should call 999.
#NeverOk is a very valuable scheme as it gives students the reassurance that safety is one of the University’s top priorities.
Should you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable situation involving any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination, it is important to remember that support is waiting for you and that there’s no reason to face the incidents or their repercussions on your own.
For more information about the campaign and finding support on campus, visit reading.ac.uk/neverok.
Written by Taz Usher