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Sheffield SU officer has launched a petition after a student broke her nose

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A Sheffield Student's Union officer has launched an online petition urging universities to introduce new guidelines when dealing with incidents of sexual violence, harassment and hate crime.

Megan McGrath has strongly criticised the punishment handed down to a male student who assaulted her at a campus bar on the University of Sheffield on 11th March. The male student, who was at the venue during a sports social, smashed his head into the bridge of her nose.

The unprovoked attack, which broke Megan's nose and caused tissue damage, has left her permanently scarred. She is still having corrective surgery and is unable to breathe or smell normally.

Megan also announced that she had to take three weeks off work in the aftermath of the assault.

She said that she endured "an abundance of stress, anxiety and sleepless nights; all exacerbated by the inadequate and shoddy process of punishment".

The University of Sheffield's disciplinary process, which took three and a half months, banned her attacker from two university bars.

He also had to attend an alcohol awareness course and write a letter of apology - a punishment which Megan deemed "barely a slap on the wrist" compared to the penalties given by the University for breaches of academic integrity such as plagiarism.

Megan explained that there was no formal way to influence the disciplinary proceedings or receive updates about the investigation's process.

Also, she revealed that the assault only "may be" included on a reference from the university and that the police had "merely issued him a caution for the incident," meaning it will be unlikely to impact her attacker unless he goes into a job requiring an enhanced DBS check.

Megan's petition calls on UUK (Universities UK) to change the guidelines for universities to encourage institutions to make their disciplinary processes for such offences more victim-centred.

The document also advocates the introduction of "harsher" punishments for such offences as "society as a whole is failed by violence and harassment going unpunished."

You can sign the petition here.

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