Bullying and Harassment

The University community contains a rich and diverse mix of people and from time to time disagreement and conflict will arise. However, according to the Student Harassment & Bullying Policy.pdf (0.3 MB), everyone in the York St John community is expected to:

  • Act with courtesy and respect in all situations – with peers, colleagues and the local community.
  • Contribute to building a friendly community that is free from harassment and discrimination and where everyone feels safe and respected;
  • Actively engage in University life and challenge exclusion and prejudice in all forms;
  • Take responsibility for resolving problems, seek support when needed and treat others with dignity and respect.

The terms bullying and harassment are often used interchangeably. In general, they can be defined as; behaviour directed towards an individual, that is unwelcome, uninvited and causes a detrimental effect.

In addition to the above policy there is further information available here:

Practical Tips

If you feel you are being bullied or harassed, please seek support and advice.

However, the strategies below may be helpful in your situation.

Do only use the ones that feel right for you.

Feeling physically threatened?

Phone the police (dial 999) and find a safe space.


Chat to someone about how you are feeling

Speak to friends, family, your tutor or a welfare adviser / harassment adviser for support, advice and guidance, check out what support is available.


Tell the bully/ perpetrator their behaviour is not okay

If it is safe to do so, speak to the person involved and make it clear that you consider their behaviour to be bullying or harassment.

It might be hard to believe, but this person may not realise that his or her behaviour is bothering you this much. Sometimes just telling the person outright, can prompt a wake-up call and lead them to apologise and stop.

If you decide to try this strategy it is important to be assertive, be very clear, name the behaviour not the person.

Using terms like “I feel x when you do y” or “I feel uncomfortable when you do x, please stop”.

If you have trouble doing this face-to-face, think about writing an email or letter instead. However, if you chose this option keep it short, clear and to the point.


Ignore the behaviour

Bullies often need a reaction to reinforce their behaviour. Ignoring the behaviour can be a non-verbal way of communicating that a behaviour/ comment is unacceptable.

Try not to react, don’t respond and try to ignore the comments and turn around and walk away. This includes being bullied or harassed online.

Collect evidence

Keep a record of every incident that occurs. Keep all emails, texts, letters and social media correspondence. Taking screenshots is really useful. Write down an account of what happened, noting the date and time and if there were witnesses to the behaviour.


Block or unfriend the perpetrator online or on your phone

Do this once you have captured any evidence.

Break off contact

Tell the person to stop contacting you. Stop answering the person’s calls, texts, emails and other messages, delete and block them on your phone.


Look after yourself

  • If you have stopped doing the things you previously enjoyed because of the bullying or harassment ask yourself how you could start to do these things again. Could you arrange to exercise with a friend or ask a friend to act as a chaperone on a night out – just until you feel safe again?
  • Reflect on any changes in your behaviour that don’t help you. For example, if you begin to drink more alcohol to cope this can have a detrimental impact upon you, as can isolating yourself by staying at home and missing lectures.
  • Pull together all of your possible support options, both people and resources, write them down and keep them close to you so you always feel you have support. See what support is available.



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