Norwich student sex survey will have to wait
PUBLISHED: 09:21 04 February 2011
Â© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010
A popular annual student sex survey has been suspended to ensure it meets ethical standards.
The student newspaper Concrete, which is published by the Students’ Union at the University of East Anglia, has conducted the survey each year for a decade to guage the attitudes of students to sex.
The online survey was promoted on the front of this week’s edition of Concrete, but the canvassing has been put on hold while the questions are scrutinised by the university’s research ethics committee.
The Evening News understands that no complaints have been made regarding the survery, and the decision was taken as part of the union’s ongoing commitment to upholding high standards and ethics for its members.
But the decision has been described as “contentious” given the lighthearted manner of the survey.
In a statement, the union said it had a responsibility to protect students’ welfare, and its reputation.
It was in this light that the community and student rights officer, Dan Youmans, took the decision to pause the collection of responses to Concrete’s sex survey, until the survey is approved by the research ethics committee.
Mr Youmans said: “The Concrete Sex Survey can be a really good, fun way to get people to talk about sex. But it’s also important that surveys meet certain criteria - like being anonymous, and treating respondents with respect - that are best assessed by an ethics committee.
“Although I recognise the decision to remove it was contentious, the union had to prioritise student welfare above all else.”
He added: “The union looks forward to working with Concrete in steering the survey through the approval process, and promoting it when it’s active again.”
A spokesman for the university said it asks those undertaking surveys to seek ethical approval before asking individuals questions - particularly those of a personal nature, and the policy is clearly outlined on its website.
She said: “This year’s Student Union officers are working closely with the university to ensure that students comply with this policy and it was their decision that the survey should be suspended.”
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