Fund mental health services at Loughborough Uni and end repressive management actions

Fund mental health services at Loughborough Uni and end repressive management actions

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Loughborough Campus Care, Not Cops started this petition to Robert Allison (Loughborough University)

In November 2018, Loughborough University undertook an operation to clampdown on drug use on campus by carrying out raids on students' accomodation. In doing this, they raided the homes of 7 innocent students who were found to have nothing on them. Many students feel that these actions by the university are concerning in several regards:

-          Drug treatment – there is scant help for people at Loughborough with regards to drug abuse. It is dealt with on a mainly punitive basis and treated as a security issue. It is ultimately a health issue and the low levels of funding and help available to students is unacceptable and harmful.

-          Campus should be a safe place for students to live and learn. Rather than approach people that the university has concerns over, they plotted behind the scenes, spying on students and then coming to their homes with sniffer dogs and security guards. Rooms in halls should be homes first and foremost.

We are calling for an end to this kind of authoritarian, extreme response to drug use and instead call on the university to help students who need help first and foremost. They should invest in all the health and mental health initiatives needed to ensure drugs use decreases.

The overall funding for all mental health services on campus is also inadequate, with just 11 counsellors meaning we have a ratio of 1 counsellor for around every 1600 students. This is extremely concerning and means long waiting lists, with many students not seen at all. We estimate that 7 additional counsellors are required to provide the services that students need. This would cost around £245,000 annually, something that the university can fund easily.

Our full set of demands for dealing with the mental health crisis are as follows:

  1. Increased funding and capacity of the counselling services for 7 additional counsellors
  2. Remove the cap of 6 counselling sessions per student
  3. Mental health training for all student-facing staff, senior management and LSU Executive Officers
  4. Ensure the counselling service is able to deal with how mental health issues arise and manifest differently from diverse demographics, either through training or through hiring a diverse counselling team
  5. Expanded specialist mental health services for students/staff with complex mental health needs, eating disorders and those with issues of drug abuse
  6. Increased number of sub-wardens such that sub-wardens are responsible on average for no more than 50 students
  7. Run staff and student mental health workshops
  8. Produce a framework for reducing staff workload and zero-hour contracts that contribute to stress and anxiety

And our demands to end repression against students:

  1. Amendment of Ordinance XVII to reduce ambiguity of offences and increase transparency and standardisation of related disciplinary actions and procedure
  2. Review of disciplinary procedure towards drugs to consider pastoral care and recovery before punitive measures
  3. Hire a drug safety testing company on campus
  4. Ceasing of drug raids on student accommodation without evidence of supplying or without requesting consent from LSU
  5. Provide non-judgemental drug education for students, through events or resources, to improve students’ safety around drug use
  6. Compensation of one terms rent for students who had their room raided where no drugs were found
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