Our support for those affected by global crises

We know that global events can have a personal impact on our students and our staff. We are committed to creating a diverse, inclusive, welcoming and safe environment for all – whoever you are and whatever your background – and at times of conflict, it’s even more important that we pull together as a community.

On this page, you’ll find information about the University’s response to crises and conflicts, as well as advice and support for impacted staff and students.

  • Our public response to global crises
  • Support for students
  • Support for staff
  • Keeping our community safe
  • Support for the global academic community

Our public response to global crises

Conflicts and humanitarian crises are a tragic aspect of our current global landscape. They may happen suddenly as a result of conflict or natural disaster and can also persist over long periods of time. Whatever the cause, it’s not possible, or appropriate, for us to comment on every issue or crisis when we are approached to do so.

As an institution we value respect, equality and inclusivity, and in every situation our priority is the wellbeing and safety of our students, staff and wider community.

Support for staff

If you are a staff member in need of support, please speak to your line manager as soon as possible.

Alternatively, you can request support via the Speak Out online reporting form (wherever possible, please do provide contact details so that we can assist you promptly).

If you would like to talk to an independent, trained counsellor about how you are feeling, you can make contact with our Employee Assistance Programme, provided by HealthHero. The service is free for all staff and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Support is also available from our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Office and our University Chaplaincy. You can also speak to one of our Dignity and Respect Advisors, or access peer support via our Staff Networks.

Full details about the services and resources available can be found on HertsHub.

Keeping our community safe

We know that global events can bring differences of opinion, and we’re fully committed to providing an inclusive environment for all of our staff and students. This includes support for different and diverse views within the law.

We want Herts to be a place where difficult yet lawful conversations can happen; where, with our support, discussions on controversial topics can take place in a safe space and with the appropriate regard to human rights, equality, freedom-of-speech and education.

We also know that at times of global crisis our community may wish to hold vigils or protests expressing solidarity, where supporters voice their opinions, and express their strength of feelings. We’re committed to supporting free speech, and the right of our community to hold and attend vigils and protests, within the law.

However, we take a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination, harassment and bullying, and all students, staff, partners, and visitors should expect to be treated - and to treat each other - with dignity and respect. Equality and Diversity | About us | Uni of Herts.

The University has four Third-Party Hate Crime reporting centres, who can help you to report any incidents, provide confidential advice and support and can be a contact for those who do not wish to report directly to the police. You can remain anonymous if you wish, and you do not need to have contact with the police if you do not want to. The four centres work in partnership with the Hertfordshire Constabulary Hate Crime Officers to provide a coordinated response.

If you or someone you know has experienced or witnessed any form of bullying, harassment, discrimination, gender-based violence, hate or micro-aggressions, or have a safeguarding concern, you can report it anonymously or get support from a trained advisor through our online tool  Report + Support. Report + Support is open to all members of our community whether they are the recipient of or witness to any incident.

It is also vital that students and staff understand and respect that we are also all bound by UK laws relating to terror offences. Signalling support to any terrorist group or organisation including moral support or expressing an opinion or belief that is supportive, is a criminal offence.

Flags on campus

We recognise that flags are symbols that can boost local and national identities and strengthen community cohesion. Like all symbols, flags can have different interpretations and have the potential to cause unrest between different groups.

The University has two official flagpoles on our College Lane Campus. With the exception of the Union Flag on the main flagpole at College Lane, the raising of any other flags (and lighting up of buildings) takes place on designated days, or those commemorating a specific community-wide event agreed annually in advance by the University’s senior leadership team.

The agreed current days and events include:

  • 1 to 28/29 February: LGBT+ History Month
  • 23 April: St George’s Day
  • 15 to 21 May: Mental Health Awareness Week
  • 1 to 30 June: Pride
  • 7 June: #Red4Research Day
  • 17 June: Official celebration of His Majesty’s birthday
  • Last Saturday in June: Armed Forces Day
  • 1 to 31 October: Black History Month
  • Second Sunday in November: Remembrance Day
  • 13 to 19 November: Trans Awareness Week
  • 16 November to 16 December: Disability History Month

Please note, no additional in-year requests will be considered.

Travel guidance

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) provides guidance on travel. Other nationalities should check their own government’s advice before considering any travel. We also advise you to speak to your line manager, supervisor, Programme Leader or Personal Tutor and complete a risk assessment before travelling.

Concerns for Friends and Family

If you are worried about family and friends in an affected region you can contact the relevant British Embassy or the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office for more information and updates.

Support for the global academic community

The University is a keen supporter of the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA), which provides urgently needed help to academics in immediate danger, those forced into exile and many who choose to work on in their home countries despite serious risks.

Alongside providing financial support, Herts is a member of CARA’s UK Universities and Research Network which aims to brings together UK higher education and research institutions ‘in support of persecuted and at-risk academics, and in the defence and promotion of academic and university freedoms worldwide’.

The University recently renewed its commitment to CARA Fellowships for at-risk academics, and welcomes applications from academics at risk.