Dear St Paul’s College Council members,
I am writing to urge you to take immediate steps to ensure the safety and protection of all women who live in the College and to implement actions which will address the unacceptable culture of harassment and bullying within this College.
The recent revelations regarding St Paul’s College students are disturbingly another instance of what appears to be an ongoing culture of sexism within this institution.
The College has been aware of this unacceptable behaviour for many years but chose not to participate in the university review of college culture led by sex discrimination commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, a year ago.
With this latest expose, I understand St Paul’s has now requested to join the review in the same week as the warden, Ivan Head and chairman, Angelo Hatsatouris publicly retired.
I acknowledge the college council has indicated that it needs to address the ‘unacceptable culture’ amongst the college’s student body and has voted to review the governance of the college.
Given the history of unaccountability and lack of action from St Paul’s on this issue, it’s time for genuine reform which may only be possible if university colleges come under university or other governance structures.
I note that student representative organisations from the University of Sydney, the University of Western Sydney and the University of New South Wales have made a number of recommendations in an Open Letter to the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Pru Goward MP, which include:
- Legislating and mandating a Sexual Misconduct Action Plan in universities at a state level.
- A comprehensive review of the NSW Parliamentary Acts under which private colleges operate.
- Lobbying to establish a federal complaints and compliance mechanism.
- The establishment of a national 1800 hotline focussed on sexual misconduct in universities.
As the local member for Newtown, I am committed to working with them to help progress these actions.
I look forward to your response to this letter updating me on what action you have taken to address these serious issues.
Jenny Leong MP
Member for Newtown