Respectful and inclusive campus for everyone

The ‘Be a Better Human’ campaign is a campaign that focuses on empathy, consent and respect. Learn how you can support others, be an active bystander and report any incidents.

Together we want to work towards a more respectful and inclusive campus for everyone. It’s not just about what we shouldn’t do but about self-improvement for everyone. We’re encouraging everyone in the Macquarie University community to take a moment and consider how we can better our behaviour and figure out how we can all be better humans.

We encourage everyone to do more when it comes to understanding, preventing and responding to disrespectful behaviours and creating open discussions around key issues such as racism, discrimination on the basis of race, gender or sexuality, sexual assault and sexual harassment, bullying and harassment and other forms of inappropriate behaviour.

Be a Better Human week

Be a Better Human activities will run on 20–21 March 2024 and will cover key issues such as racism, discrimination, misconduct, bullying and harassment. The event will encourage everyone to do more when it comes to understanding, preventing, and responding to disrespectful behaviours.

We want to raise awareness and empower the university community to be a better human and help strengthen a respectful and inclusive culture through knowledge and understanding of inclusive, respectful behaviour. In celebration with Harmony Day, the event also provides us the opportunity to recognise and celebrate Australia’s diversity and foster an inclusive and safe community for everyone here at Macquarie University.

Macquarie University are proud to have a diverse community of students and staff as we celebrate our cultural diversity and sexual and gender diversity.

Macquarie University’s staff and students come from over 100 countries and speak over 50 languages and at Macquarie, we embrace and celebrate the cultural diversity of our vibrant, multicultural campus. We believe our cultural diversity is a strength as it exposes us to different perspectives and experiences in our learning and working environments, allowing us to bring unity through diversity.

Macquarie University also supports and celebrates sexual and gender diversity. Macquarie is a safe space for all students. We are committed to creating an inclusive culture where LGBTQIA+ students and staff can flourish.

Harassment, sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination, or any harmful behaviour impacting our LGBTQIA+ students is not acceptable in the Macquarie community.

We are deeply committed to practicing respect and acceptance on campus and in our broader community and we strive to have an inclusive environment for all students and staff. We want to create a safe campus free from bias or prejudices to allow individuals to feel comfortable to be themselves, participate fully, and share their unique perspectives.

  1. Find an appropriate location: Find a place to start or continue a conversation where the person feels safe and comfortable, and you can talk without feeling rushed or interrupted.
  2. Establish immediate safety: If the person is in immediate danger on campus or needs urgent medical attention, contact campus security on 9850 9999.
  3. Listen and reassure: If an individual discloses an incident of violence, discrimination, sexual assault or harassment etc., it usually means they trust you. It is important that you:
    • Treat them seriously
    • Listen to them and allow them to talk at their own pace
    • Reassure them that the incident was not their fault
    Some things you could say include:
    • What you have told me is very important. Let me find someone who can help you.
    • I’m sorry that this happened to you. What do you need right now?
    • Is there someone I can call for you?
    • What is the most helpful thing I can do for you right now?

    It is important to remember your role is not to investigate and you are not expected to be a counsellor. Your role is to listen and to assist them in accessing support services they may require.

An active bystander is someone who notices when someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening and chooses to challenge it and take action to disrupt a problematic situation.

  1. Notice the event: A friend showing you a nude that was sent to them privately, hearing someone making a homophobic, sexist or racist remark towards another person or group, or noticing a peer incessantly pursuing someone who is not interested – these are all situations where you might intervene.
  2. Identify it’s a problem: Does the situation make you uncomfortable? Would you behave the same way? Would this kind of behaviour be okay if it were occurring to a friend or family member? If you are unsure about positively answering these questions, or the answer makes you feel uncomfortable, chances are a positive intervention is called for.
  3. Take responsibility: This is perhaps the hardest step; deciding to step up. In difficult situations we often assume that someone else will do something – surely the woman at the club has friends who will come to her aid or someone else in the group will call out someone’s racist remark– but if we all assume someone else will step in, nothing will happen.
  4. Make a plan: There are several different ways to intervene and take responsibility – either directly or indirectly – just remember to be respectful and mindful of your own safety and theirs in whatever approach you take, whether you decide to act in the moment or check-in with the person later to see how they feel. Every situation is different and what you do in one case may not be safe or suitable to do in another. It is therefore important to assess the situation and make a plan before you act.
  5. Act: Choosing to not participate in a negative conversation or calling-out bad behaviour; derailing an incident from occurring by distracting the would-be perpetrator (i.e. ask for the time, directions, what drink they’re having); offering assistance to the victim by listening or helping them to report the incident – these are just some of the ways you can intervene and be an active bystander.

So, what can we do as a community moving forward to create a culture of respect and inclusivity? How can you be an advocate for change? It is about changing the culture; practise being critical of the ways society reinforces attitudes and stereotypes that normalise disrespectful, inappropriate or abusive behaviour and be proactive in taking a stand. The ‘Be A Better Human’ campaign focuses on three concepts- consent, respect and empathy- and this is where we encourage you to start.

  • Talk about and engage in ideas
  • Respect each other – women, men and gender diverse people – their rights, their identity and autonomy
  • Show empathy for your peers and their lived experience

Whether you have been directly affected, are a witness to an incident, or a support person, Macquarie University encourages you to report any incident of racism, discrimination, bullying and harassment, sexual assault and sexual harassment, or violence. You can choose to remain anonymous when you submit a report.

As a victim, you have control over what action you take, including if you choose not to take action. You can also change your mind and there is no rush to make a decision. It is important you make the decision that feels right for you.

Different reports can be made depending on the nature of the incident:

On-campus emergency

Macquarie Campus Security

T: 9850 9999

Off-campus emergency

Emergency Services

T: 000 (Triple Zero)

Wellbeing Reporting

Student Wellbeing

Submit an MQ CARE Report.

T: 1800 2273 67


Inappropriate or Unwanted Behaviour Reporting

Submit an Inappropriate or Unwanted Behaviour Form if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, sexual harassment, racism, discrimination or any other form of inappropriate or unwanted behaviour.

24/7 Support

TalkCampus app is a free online peer support community for Macquarie students. It provides access to support any time of day, anywhere in the world, in multiple languages.

MQWellbeing app is free to download and provides information, tools and resources to help you manage your wellbeing. The app includes key emergency contacts on campus.

Lifeline Australia provide telephone counselling via their 24hr Crisis Support Line: 13 11 14
as well as chat or text options.

Mensline Australia provide a 24/7 free telephone and online counselling service for Australian men: 1300 78 99 78