One in four female UCD students that responded to a recent survey conducted by The College Tribune have been subject to unwanted sexual contact while studying at UCD, or within a social setting at the college.
A further 90% of students said they did not know where they could report a sexual offence to university authorities in order to pursue disciplinary action against the offender.
The survey ran online between March 16th and March 21st, 2015.
It found that just under a quarter (24%) of women who took part in the survey has had a non-consensual sexual experience compared to 5% of men.
Just under half (47%)of all respondents to the survey had been subject to verbal harassment, while one in every six students reported having been stalked or subject to unwanted, obsessive behaviour.
One Arts student, speaking exclusively to the College Tribune and did not wish to be named, spoke of her frustration at the lack of information and support surrounding sexual harassment on campus.
“When I was a second-year student I was stalked by a guy that was in my history class. He would constantly send me messages via Facebook and create new profiles just to speak to me when I had blocked the others,” she said.
“He got a hold of my phone number and text and called me constantly and I ended up not attending that class anymore so that I could avoid him.
At the start of every semester we’re inundated with cards and leaflets telling us where to go and who to speak to in relation to drugs, alcohol abuse and depression. Nobody ever tells you how to protect yourself from other students,” she continued.
The survey conducted by the College Tribune supported this student’s frustration at the lack of information surrounding sexual assault and harassment, consent and campus safety.
Over 90% of students surveyed said that they were not aware of any campaigns about sexual consent that had been previously run on campus, with a paltry 11% saying that they had heard of any consent campaigns before.
In regards to general campus safety, an overwhelming 85% of students felt that UCD was a safe campus, with 51% of students acknowledging that they felt it was not a well-lit campus. This is despite the introduction of more lightening by both the Clonskeagh entrance and the side entrance at Roebuck Road.
One 1st year Law student, Anna O’Brien told the College Tribune “I feel that it’s a poorly lit campus. A few times I’ve been walking from one end of the campus to the other in the dark, and I’ve felt very unsafe,”
One in three students also said that they felt there was not an adequate security presence on campus, with one 5th-year Medical student, Siobhan Kennedy stating
“I was coming home from a night out once and my taxi dropped me at the Clonskeagh entrance instead of nearer Merville. I had to walk the length of the campus, and I’ve honestly never been so scared in my life.
You never see security around at night, only around the bar, but what about the rest of the campus? ”
When asked whether they felt that UCDSU should be doing more to promote a safe campus over two-thirds of respondents said yes.
In a statement to The College Tribune on the topic of campus safety, UCDSU Welfare Officer Maeve de Say said that UCDSU were in constant contact with campus services and to ensure that UCD is a safe space for all its students.
“I sit on the Health Promotion Committee and we look at all aspects of student safety on campus.
We also had the RSA present during Mind Body + Soul, and there was also a large shuttle roll over as well as the RSA information stand in the student centre quad last semester,” she said.
The College Tribune understands that UCDSU plans to launch its sexual assault and harassment survey in the next two weeks, for which they will be collaborating with the Rape Crisis Centre.
The College Tribune asked students whether they felt their safety was of importance to the university and just under three-quarters of respondents said yes.
The College Tribune recently contacted the university in relation to on-campus security across both Belfield and Blackrock and inquired about the amount UCD had spent on security personnel and other measures during the academic year 2012/2013.
The College Tribune also inquired about whether there had been an increase or a decrease in security presence on campus in the last five years.
At the time of printing university authorities were unable to provide the paper with any information requested.