In 2020, the BBC conducted a news investigation that found almost a third of universities had used non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to silence student complaints involving sexual assault, harassment and bullying. This included 300 individual NDAs with the expectancy of a higher number.
Michele Donelan, Minister for Further and Higher Education in England, announced that universities must stop using NDAs for complaints about sexual harassment, bullying and other forms of misconduct on January 18th. The minister said that she expects the “shabby practice” to be eliminated on campuses as sexual harassment complaints shouldn’t be “bullied into silence”.
The university of York has become one in thirteen universities to sign a pledge against using NDAs to silence sexually assaulted victims.
As a response an organisation called Can’t buy my silence has since been created in order to campaign against the misuse of NDAs to silence student complaints.
So far up to 13 universities across the Uk have signed the pledge that they will no longer use NDAs to dismiss complaints from both students and teachers. These include; University of Exeter, University College London and Goldsmiths University.
The University of York told The York Tab: “The University does not, and will not, use non-disclosure agreements to silence people who come forward to raise complaints of sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct, or other forms of harassment and bullying.”