Reflecting on Student Activism and DRAG

‘Students carry on organising because they care: because the cause is important, because they understand that feminist and anti-racist work is justice work and therefore a necessity’ (Lola Olufemi, SU Women’s Officer 2017-18, 2019:p232)

Image shows Rosie, SU Women's Officer, sat down. An update from Rosie: Reflecting on DRAG activism



Content Note: OSCCA, Sexual Misconduct

I urge those affected by these issues or this article to seek whatever support they feel confortable accepting; please find our Support for Victims and Survivors guide which provides signposts to University, College and external support on the womcam linktree here


‘Students carry on organising because they care: because the cause is important, because they understand that feminist and anti-racist work is justice work and therefore a necessity’ (Lola Olufemi, SU Women’s Officer 2017-18, 2019:p232)

The Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals (OSCCA) is the University's centralised disciplinary body. While OSCCA deals with academic and non-academic cases, it was formed in 2017 as a response to campaigns that focused on the concern that sexual violence within the University was not dealt with proportionately and that the true scale of the issue was not represented by the number of discipline cases.

This continued and continues to be a concern raised by Womcam and other activist groups in the years since. Eseosa, my brilliant predecessor, wrote a blogpost that captured the powerful anger and distrust of students and the depth of past student activism. They highlighted the balancing act I want to evoke in my own post about the new policy reform: the importance of celebrating our victories and recognising the struggle and the time that was given by student activists to tis campaign, and the often emotive pressure to fulfil the activist position that this cannot and should not be the end of the campaign. Hopefully this article strikes the right balance and I welcome any feedback on the blogpost or on future campaigning efforts.

In 2021 DRAG was founded as a student hub for campaign work related to sexual and racial harassment and violence within the University. They produced 9 demands which we've used to explain the new policy and identify non-exhaustive areas for national, collegiate and univeristy reform. Find our guide on the new policy here:

The new policy comes into effect on the 1st of October 2023 and will affect any cases where misconduct takes place after this point. OSCCA will have by Michaelmas 2023 created a webpage that provides transparency about how OSCCA processes work and provides sanctions guidance. OSCCA does not automatically report cases to the police unless they reach a high threshold of immediate danger. They are not a criminal justice system and instead act as a way of ascertaining whether the responding students have broken the student code of conduct and their contractual obligations. Staff complaints nromally are taken to HR. OSCCA has a lower burden of proof, balence of probabilities, in line with other academic institutions within the UK and does not enact criminal investigations.

The Sabb team receive training in order to be student representative on OSCCA panels. We and the Cambridge SU Student Advice Service neither encourage or dissuade from reporting to either the police or OSCCA but support student agency and welfare support for those affected by these issues.

If you are seeking a non-contact order, OSCCA immediately puts one in place unless explicitly deemed unnecessary. A non-reporting approach is through the Informal Complaint Procedure for Student Misconduct. Through this process there is no disciplinary action but the reporting and responding student come to a mutual agreement such as a non-contact order or areas where one of these students' access may be restricted. Each part of the reporting process contains a review mechanism.

We must emphasise the resilient and emotionally exhaustive work by student activists and SU officers, including my predecessors, that fed into and pushed for this reform. It was truly a generational and collective effort and we're so proud to continue their campaigns in the years ahead. While this reform reflects the power of our anger and voice, this is not the end but a point of hope that persistant acts of resistance can alter structures that feel impenetrable. Womcam and DRAG must maintain their dedication to abolitionist feminism.

We'll be planning what our campaigning on this issue will look like for the next year in the couple of weeks, starting with a meeting in October. If you're interested in getting involved or want to join the meeting drop me an email ( or join our DRAG (Disciplinary Reform Action Group) mailing list or WomCam mailing list.

We are hoping to develop a WomCam blog during Michaelmas to publish and celebrate activist work, art, poetry and opinion pieces about the University and beyond. Feel free to email myself or the Women's Campaign with any submissions.

Final Reflections..

Lola Olufemi ends the book ‘A FLY girl’s guide to University’ and the chapter titled ‘perseverance’ with this paragraph (a copy is available in the liberation library in the SU lounge). :

‘Drawing from the works of academics and activists in the past and the present shows us that the labor of student activists does not exist in a vacuum. It is not expended without reward. We are adding to the stories we turn back to when we persevere. In the eyes of the many, we are hope personified.’ 


 Lola , Olufemi. A FLY Girl’s Guide to University. Edited by Younge Odelia, Verve Poetry Press, 2019.



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