“Safe Mary’s Initiative”
“Safe Mary’s” is an initiative born after the tragic death of Euan Coulthard, a second year Law student and member of St Mary’s College, who died in the River Wear in January 2015. As the College mourned the loss of a much-loved member of its community, it vowed that never again did it want to experience the pain of losing one of its own, or witness a family heartbroken by the loss of their child. Recognising that those who knew Euan best would eventually graduate and leave Durham, the community agreed that there was a need to create something that would act as a reminder of what had happened for future students but also provide a positive legacy for Euan. The initiative is about supporting and developing positive behaviours and cultures that will keep our community as safe as possible.
“Safe Mary’s” has many strands but at its heart it requires every member of the community to take personal responsibility for their own safety, to give the safety of others consideration when thinking about their actions, and to look out for each other.
The initiative supports:
- Responsible drinking
- Not engaging in drinking games
- Never walking home alone at night
- Always using well-lit routes
- Safe and consensual sex
- Not engaging in risky or undesired behaviours due to peer-pressure
- Keeping doors and windows locked
The College delivers “Safe Mary’s” through:
- Encouraging student-led initiatives that promote and prioritise safety;
- A College Officer-led presentation on “personal safety” in Induction Week;
- WAM Awareness Weeks;
- Issuing safety guidance in its Handbook;
- Email notifications and reminders under the hashtag #safemarys;
- Risk assessments for all College events and alcohol plans where appropriate; and
- The positive engagement of JCR and MCR Clubs and Societies.
As Euan’s friends said at the time of his death, they knew about the safety messages that were being issued by College but they never thought it would happen to them. It did happen to them. Please don’t let it happen to you.