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Durham University

Department of Philosophy

Support for Staff and Students

Welcome to our ‘support’ resource page for staff, students and tutors, where you can find information on the various services that the University provides to help you navigate challenging circumstances, whatever those circumstances may be. Doing a degree is far from plain sailing – it can be psychologically very demanding. As a department, we fully acknowledge that students often find it difficult to cope and personal circumstances may intervene and mean that you need extra support. Listed below are resources on Mental Health, Disability, LGBTQ issues, and English as a Second Language. Also listed is guidance on how to report incidents of sexual violence and misconduct and advice on what to do in cases of bullying. Information on implicit bias and disclosure training will be updated soon. There is also a section in development for staff on casual and non-permanent contracts – if this applies to you, please check it out!

As a department, we are fully committed to creating an intellectual community that is open, non-discriminatory and collectively engaged in developing positive departmental policies that ensure that all the members of our community are empowered to help themselves and others, and to thrive philosophically and personally.

If you think we can improve these pages, or you have further thoughts or ideas on what information to include, please contact members of the Diversity and Inclusion Group through their dedicated email address. (Clare Mac Cumhaill is chair of the committee – Your email will be treated confidentially.

In crisis NOW?

Mental Health, Disability, LGBTQ, English as a Second Language



  • The University Counselling Services pages are the first port of call if you need someone to talk to. Counsellors do not give advice or tell you what to do but provide you with the time and space you need to resolve your concerns. The counselling service is available without charge to students registered with the University. You can find out information about the service and how to book an appointment here:
  • The kinds of concern that students or staff may bring to a counselling session are listed below, but sometimes there may be no specific problem and you may simply want to talk about feeling confused or unhappy. That’s okay – the counsellors are open to hearing about whatever is troubling you.
  • Examples of problems that you may seek help for through counselling are: academic/work worries/pressures, problems arising from studies, anxiety and depression, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, bereavement, issues of sexuality, relationship difficulties, family problems, homesickness, eating disorders, issues with self-esteem and confidence.
  • Remember to please keep your academic advisor and College Student Support Staff informed if things are not going well or you feel you need support. The sooner you act, the sooner you will be able to get the support you need.
  • The student service Nightline is run by students for students: Two Nightline volunteers are available every night of term from 9pm to 7am to chat about anything you like. To contact Nightline –



  • Disability support is available for those who have a recognised disability which impacts on their ability to participate fully in University life. Such disabilities may include mental health problems, medical conditions or specific learning differences (SpLD) like Dyslexia, Dyspraxia or ADHD. General information can be accessed here: Jill Lockey is the departmental disability officer and can discuss in confidence any issues you may have and can advise you what to do. Email:
  • Most of our lectures and seminars take place in Elvet Riverside and in 48, 50 and 51 Old Elvet. The seminar room in 51 Old Elvet is wheelchair accessible. Durham University DisabledGO access guide (in progress) is available here:



  • The Durham Student Union LGBT+a (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, + Association) provides welfare services, campaigns, and socials to anyone who identifies as being under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. Welfare services include a confidential listening service, as well as providing free sexual health supplies such as condoms, dental dams, personal lubricant, pregnancy tests, and STI testing kits. If you have any questions or concerns about welfare, please email Molly at For more information and how to get involved see
  • For general support and advice on coming out see


  • The LGBT Staff Network exists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender staff members at the University, their family and friends and anyone with an interest in LGBTQ issues. The group meet informally approximately once a month. For more information see: If you would like to join the network email Or follow tweets @DU_LGTBStaff


  • If English is not your first language you may face additional challenges that may prove stressful. These may affect your confidence or ability to contribute to tutorials or give presentations. The English Language Centre has a range of resources that may help, including assessments of your level of academic writing. Academic Language and Communication (ALC) courses are free of charge to all students registered at the University. Your academic advisor may suggest that you consider taking a DAAW test (Durham Assessment of Academic Writing). This test is designed to help students identify areas where their academic writing skills may need development and enable us to suggest the most appropriate ALC courses. This information is just for you – the results will not be shared departments. For further information see here:

Sexual Violence and Misconduct – Guidance for Staff and Students

  • We are committed to making the University, our department and Durham a safer place for people to work and study. The University is working on implementing institution-wide prevention and response efforts. For more information on the work being done by Durham’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Operations Group, click here:
  • Updated information on protocol and training will be posted here as soon as they are received. In the meantime, we ask students and staff in the philosophy department to follow this protocol:
  • In the event that you wish to disclose an incident of sexual violence or misconduct, our departmental officers are Geoffrey Scarre ( and Sylvie Gambaudo ( However, you can also disclose to any staff member that you feel comfortable talking to. That staff member will confidentially inform our Head of Department, Sophie Gibb, and will advise you of your reporting options (listed below) and specialist services where you can seek support and help.
  • After disclosing, you may choose to do one or more of the following:
    • Make a report to the Police: If you would like more information on this option, you may speak with our Police Liaison Officer Rebecca Carey. It is your choice to report to the Police. Only in very exceptional circumstances will the University report a crime against the wishes of the victim.
    • Make a complaint under Respect at Study: If the Accused Party is a student, you may choose to make a complaint under the Respect at Study by completing a Harassment Complaint Form which is found on the Appeals, Complaints and Discipline page:
    • Take time to consider your options: While you are considering your options, you are encouraged to seek specialist support especially if you would like to preserve evidence to give yourself the option to report to the Police at a later date. This can be done at The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre.
    • Take no action and seek information on support only: If you choose to not report the incident to the Police or University, you can still seek support from your College, the Counselling Service, or specialist local services. For more information:
  • Welfare Support: Your College can provide you with additional welfare support. We encourage you to inform your College Support staff contact so that they can coordinate additional support for you. If you do not want to disclose again, but would like a staff member in your College to be aware, the academic department can share this information with them on your behalf.
  • Academic Support: We will put in place Special Adverse Circumstances notices to protect your academic standing and this will be backdated to the time of the event. All correspondence will be treated confidentially.
  • If you prefer to disclose to College Support Staff or if you report the incident to the police, the department will not be informed. You do not need to tell the department that you have been a victim of sexual violence and misconduct, but as the impact on your academic work may be significant, it may help us to help you if we are aware of your circumstances. You may prefer to ask a member of your College Support team to inform the department on your behalf. It is your decision.
  • For general advice please visit the Rape Crisis centre
  • The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre is on John Street North, Meadowfield, Durham, County Durham, DH7 8RS. Telephone: 0191 301 8554 The centre aims to provide a sensitive and comprehensive service to anyone that has experienced rape or sexual assault. Services are free and are available to both females and males. They can provide a Forensic Medical Examination with or without Police involvement.


  • Disclosure Training will be rolled out in the course of 2017. More information will be available soon. If you have specific questions, you may contact Clarissa Humphreys, Student Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence & Misconduct).


  • Everyone in our department should feel respected and welcome and no form of bullying is tolerated.
  • The University’s policy on bullying can be accessed here:
  • Please contact our harassment officer Geoffrey Scarre ( if you wish to report an incident of bullying. Full procedure and protocol will be updated here in the near future.

Staff on casual and non-permanent contracts, including postgraduate tutors.

  • We fully recognize that being on a non-permanent contract can be extremely stressful. We are committed to supporting the career development of staff on non-permanent contracts and are currently developing postdoctoral training support and a mentorship program for all postdoctoral researchers. Please watch this space.
  • All tutors, including postgraduate tutors, are entitled to become members of the University and College Union: UCU - Information produced by the UCU on insecure contracts can be found here:

Other Resources