The findings of the Howlett Brown investigation into the Bartlett School of Architecture, which revealed a toxic culture, are truly shocking. No one who chooses to study at our institution should have to enter an environment where abuse of this kind, and on this scale, exists. The safety of students from harm is the first responsibility of those leading and delivering education at UCL, and the significant failures at the BSA over many years have directly impacted hundreds of students and put thousands more at risk.
We have supported individual students in the Bartlett School of Architecture who have faced bullying, harassment, sexual misconduct, and discrimination in the past. However, the scale of the abuse uncovered through this investigation is beyond our worst fears. The fact it has taken an independent investigation to draw these testimonies out only highlights the pervasive culture of bullying and gaslighting cited throughout the report. This coercive behaviour has led to students feeling trapped by an abusive culture created by those in positions of power.
The report highlights areas for improvement across UCL’s central policies, affecting all students. For example, UCL’s Prevention of Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct policy does not currently acknowledge the depth in which bullying can involve misuse or abuse of power. UCL should act on this feedback and enhance its existing policies across the institution without delay.
We urge UCL to continue to transparently report on progress towards changing the culture of the Bartlett School of Architecture, and we will work with the Bartlett faculty and across UCL to make changes to ensure students can study in a safe environment. This moment must lead to urgent and real change, and we support the swift action taken to immediately remove staff who pose a direct risk to students. We thank UCL’s leadership team who commissioned the investigation and published the report in full, making a positive commitment to tackling culture and behaviour of this type.
If you have witnessed or experienced abusive behaviour of any kind at UCL, report it. Your report will be dealt with professionally and in the strictest confidence.
Additional reading and links to support
- Read UCL’s full statement
- Read the Howlett Brown report
- Former students that have been affected by this report and would like support please contact Student Support and Wellbeing by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Current and former BSA students and staff can speak with a counsellor through a dedicated Care First helpline on +44 (0) 333 212 3183
- Our independent and impartial Advice Service is here to help you.
- If you are a parent or are concerned about a student, please contact Student Support and Wellbeing via the Student of Concern form
- To make a report about your experience at the BSA or elsewhere at UCL please go to Report + Support, UCL’s online tool for current and former students and staff to report bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct, and it includes the option to report anonymously or on the record.