Authoring articles on Duty of Care for Students in Higher Education

A few weeks ago, two pieces of work were published which I co-authored on the issue of Statutory Duty of Care for Students in Higher Education. Both pieces were researched and written together with Robert Abrahart, Lead Campaigner at ForThe100 and father of Natasha Abrahart. As parents of students who had died by suicide at university, we felt compelled to articulate and speak out about the government’s current proposal for a national review of student suicides in higher education and a recent landmark court judgment about duty of care to students in relation to allegations of sexual misconduct (Feder and McCamish v The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama).

Both Kuljit (aka. Kooj) and I are members of ForThe100 which is a national group campaigning for higher education students to be owed a minimum standard of legal protection in a Statutory Duty of Care. The group want a clear legal requirement for higher education institutions to act reasonably and responsibly, so that students are not harmed by things institutions do (acts) and/or things institutions fail to do (omissions). Most importantly this would mean such institutions could then be held legally accountable for any negligence that resulted, in reasonably foreseeable injury to a student, through a more structured and legally enforceable route. 

Families and students struggle to hold higher education providers to account for negligence. The ambiguity which surrounds the current legal position means that most lawyers will not take on such cases and even if they do, then the restricted timescales imposed on representations and the legal costs make it very difficult. In the court case against the Royal Welsh College (mentioned above), it is estimated that the legal costs of the claimants were £350,000.

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Revisiting Malham Cove on the 7th Anniversary

Last weekend and the few days leading up to it were the seventh anniversary of when Naseeb passed away. This year we decided to mark it with a day out at Malham Cove and the nearby Gordale Scar up in North Yorkshire, where we took Naseeb when he was an infant.

It’s a striking place to see and at that age the scale and size of the place must have seemed even larger and more dramatic. Malham Cove has a heck of a lot of steps to climb, but at the top there is what they call a ‘limestone pavement’ made of huge slabs of rock (clints) which are separated by gaps (grykes). It’s pretty dramatic.

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Light up the earth

On Saturday it will be Naseeb’s birthday, he would have been 27 years old. Here’s a poem which Balwant wrote recently, along with a few photos of daffodils in our garden taken by Kooj.

We hold you close
So close
We celebrate loving you
holding you
seeing you
touching you
hearing you
knowing you

You can spot them
a mile off
At this time of year
They light up the earth
Daffodils, like you lit up our lives
And remain shining
in all the spaces
we now turn in

We hold you close
So close

Time, novels and ancient Rome

On Naseeb’s birthday holding time and lighting up his love of books, ancient Rome and our complex and beautiful world.

by Balwant, Naseeb’s mother

It’s daffodil flowering time of year again.  In a previous post we mentioned that when Naseeb was little he would tell people his birthday was when the daffodils come out.  On this which would have been Naseeb’s 25th birthday, and the 4th birthday since he died, daffodils are flowering including under his memorial tree.

Time has warped since Naseeb died.  Often I find myself watching the past whilst trying to exist in the present.  Particularly at tender times of the year like when it’s Naseeb’s birthday, the anniversary of his passing away and the end of the year.  I become subdued and go into a vortex of my own thoughts, whilst the world carries on around me.  Losing Naseeb has been all consuming.  The words of Italo Calvino from his novel Invisible Cities come to mind:

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A documentary ‘Stopping Male Suicide’ is currently online

BBC2 Horizon documentary ‘Stopping Male Suicide’ informatively investigates the issues without dwelling on labelling people or traumatic stories. Available on iPlayer until 21st September 2018.

The subject of suicide has become deeply important to us at many levels, but we’ve found hardly anything by way of TV programmes or films that say much that is useful on the subject.  Finally, a BBC2 Horizon documentary has just been televised that informatively investigates the issues without dwelling on labelling people or traumatic stories.  It’s a worthwhile and educative watch ending in pointers to progressive ways forward.  ‘Stopping Male Suicide’ can be watched online now:

stopping male suicide - watch on iplayer
Stopping Male Suicide – watch online now

Direct Link:

We’ve added this to Naseeb’s memorial blog as an exception because it’s better than most and reflects some of the issues we have been exploring since Naseeb passed away.  We hope to be able to share what we have been working on in the near future.  We encourage everyone to share this accessible film.

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Mirrors, Memories, Light

A second anniversary, trying to distil some thoughts and feelings, a father’s reflections in poetic prose.

I wrote this a few days ago over the late May bank holiday, the second anniversary of Naseeb’s passing, and wanted to share it with anyone who remembers Naseeb.   I know quite a few friends are wondering how I am and I never manage to put it into words properly or sometimes don’t say much at all, but I guess this gives an idea though its written at the toughest time of the year for both us parents.  Its kind of written in a poetic prose-monologue style, not on purpose it’s just how it came out and then tidied up to be shared.

– – – – –

Mirrors, Memories, Light

We’re having a beer at a busy square in a bohemian locality of Barcelona.  This evening a crowd of young people gather together, chatting, chilling, a few playing instruments.  You’re imbued with the energetic and creative vibe of the place and feel you’d love to come here maybe to stay one day.

We’re canoeing around a small lake at Gwalia farm near Machynlleth in Wales.  You’re 10 years old with a face full of radiant vigour.  Later you fall into the water and drench, big hassle when we’re away camping.  Hey ho, since when was a drenching allowed to get in the way?  Next day with that mischievous smile you’re raring to go again.

Two years have passed,
you’re still not here.
My phone is always switched on
awaiting your call, though
I know it will never come.
But what if it did?

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Poem for Naseeb read by Erin and Billie

This poem was read out by Billie and Erin when the tree was planted in memory of Naseeb at Longford Park last year.  It’s taken a while for this to be posted, thanks to Meghann for getting the words to us.  It’s nice to have it now as a revisit to that day a year ago.

The Poem:

We thought of you with love today,
But that is nothing new.
We thought about you yesterday
And days before that, too.
We think of you in silence.
We often speak your name.
Now all we have is memories
And your picture in a frame.
Your memory is our keepsake
With which we’ll never part.
The sky has you in its keeping
We have you in our heart.

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Your birthday will never pass uncelebrated

We wanted  to share this beautiful Facebook post from Naseeb’s friend Meghann Forrest which was created on his birthday this year.  The drawings and poetry are full of warmth and sensitivity, delicately photographed with the daffodils.  Here it is:

Your smile is one to always remember,
Your laughter will always be infectious,
Your kindness always overwhelming,
Your spirit will always be unparalleled.

You will be in our thoughts forever,
Your birthday will never pass uncelebrated,
Your heart will be carried in our hearts,
Your memory will never be forgotten.

Happy Birthday Chew x

Here is also a message that Meghann sent us on Naseeb’s first birthday after he died:

Hi Balwant and Kooj,

I hope you are well. I just wanted to let you know that yesterday me, Sarah and Dom bought some daffodils and walked up to the viewpoint in Brandon Hill Park. We left the flowers on a bench overlooking Bristol, to wish Chewie a happy birthday. I felt it would be a good place to celebrate his birthday due to his love of nature. I’m sure he would have visited this park during his time in Bristol. My thoughts were with you both all day.

I also just wanted to say thank you for the way you raised Chewie, he was always so kind, respectful and had the most beautiful heart; he really was a credit to you. He will always be in our thoughts, and in our hearts. I look forward to seeing you both again at Easter when we plant a tree for Chewie, and I look forward to having a place to go and remember all of the amazing memories I have of him.

Sending you both lots of love, Meghann

Thanks Meghann, and to all our friends for their reflections and support in the different times and ways they give them.  x

Daffodils and birthdays

Hello everyone, it’s  been a long time since anything was posted on this website.  With Naseeb’s birthday coming up on Monday we thought you might like to see this photo.  It’s of Naseeb crouching behind daffodils in our old front garden on his 3rd birthday.  As you can see he had a keen eye for fashion even then.
The recent cold weather and snow has slowed down the flowering of daffodils in our garden – they’re the signature flowers for Naseeb’s birthday.  So we’ve got a few bunches from a local shop.  Love to all from Balwant and Kooj  X x