The recent week’s debate about sexism, and the description of harassment experienced by a student during the 2019 CBS Semester Start Party, has prompted the students’ regular haunt at CBS, Café Nexus, to stress its anti-harassment policy and explain in a statement what students can do if they experience such anti-social conduct at the café.
“Cafe Nexus would like to stress that we operate a strict, zero-tolerance of harassment of any kind. Cafe Nexus will and has taken action when students do not behave in an appropriate manner. Such action includes immediate and future exclusion from events at Cafe Nexus,” the statement says.
Kate Pilkington, Director of Café Nexus, was “saddened to read in a recent edition of CBS WIRE, the description of harassment experienced by a student”, which is also why Café Nexus is commenting on the matter now.
“Café Nexus has been addressing this subject for many years. So although we are hosting no parties whatsoever at the moment, we feel it is important to issue this statement. We aim to minimize risks of safety issues, including inappropriate behavior or even harassment,” she says.
According to Kate Pilkington, Café Nexus personnel and security are trained to deal with any such incidents, and during the Thursday parties at Café Nexus, a team of security personnel, both female and male, are on duty.
The number of security employees varies according to the number of students attending the parties. For example, almost 50 security personnel were on duty at the 2019 CBS Semester Start Party.
“If students experience any kind of inappropriate behavior, they can either talk to a member of the security team or go to our bartenders, who take any report of inappropriate behavior seriously,” says Kate Pilkington and continues:
“We talk to the student who has behaved inappropriately, and, if necessary, exclude the person from Café Nexus for a specific time. CBS is also notified if such incidents occur and can decide to pursue the
matter further, if considered necessary.”
“Students usually know when they have behaved inappropriately”
Kate Pilkington says that during her nine years’ at Café Nexus, there has been less than a handful of cases of inappropriate behavior. This is despite there being thousands of students attending events at the café, and that can have something to do with both self-policing and a feeling of community.
“Students who are excluded from Café Nexus have to tell their friends why they can’t come here, and that’s not a comfortable situation. Moreover, you are likely to meet the person you harassed in class next day. This makes most students generally behave really well. There’s a sense of responsibility and self-policing among them,” she says and explains that Café Nexus is different from other clubs, because you are likely to meet the same people now and again, rather than complete strangers.
Kate Pilkington explains that there have been cases of bartenders being cursed at for mixing drinks too slowly, and the day after, the students responsible came down to the office and apologized for their behavior.
“The students usually know when they have behaved inappropriately,” she says.
Kate Pilkington emphasizes that Café Nexus is fully on board in helping changing any sexist culture at CBS.
“That’s why we are putting the message out. That we have zero tolerance, as well as having security and bartenders who know what to do. The general experience of the café is that the students at CBS behave in a respectful manner and take good care of each other,” she says.