Comment

Student Accomodation at the University of Tasmania

The National Association of Australian University Colleges would like to lend its support to the petition aimed at changing the University of Tasmania’s recent decision to preference incoming first-year students, over existing students, for on-campus accommodation places in 2019.

The University of Tasmania’s advertising makes it clear that they are committed to the health, wellbeing, and strong academic outcomes of their students. These are excellent commitments to make. However, the recent decision to deny many returning students accommodation, undermines this commitment.

As students are well aware, the Hobart rental market is the worst in the country. For students it is even more difficult, owing to the lack of short term leases, best suited for students studying for 1-2 more years. These challenging circumstances are further aggravated by the inadequate notice provided to the students. The combination of these things give students legitimate cause for anxiety. The provision of URL links to Domain.com, Gumtree and Facebook does little to alleviate this. In order to have due regard for student welfare this needs to be addressed.

The University should also be mindful that this issue will not be resolved by the start of the 2019 academic year. Students may still be without accommodation, or if they are fortunate enough to find somewhere, they may be paying above their means. This self-evidently will be deleterious to student’s academic outcomes. No student can reach a high level of intellectual attainment if they are working additional hours to pay rent, or are ‘couch surfing’ for extended periods of time. In order to have due regard for academic outcomes, this too will need to be addressed.

If the wellbeing, and academic prosperity of the students of the University of Tasmania is to be a priority, the Universities most correct cause of action is clear. The available on campus spaces need to be prioritised in favour of returning students.

We recognise this would be a difficult decision to make. Realistically it may mean reduced enrolments for the incoming cohort of 2019. This would potentially result in some financial difficulty. We would argue, however, that the poor treatment of students would have equal repercussions in the long term. But consider this, it would be a powerful message for the State, indeed nationwide, if the University of Tasmania was bold enough to say, in the reversing of their decision, “we will forsake financial gain for the sake of our students”.

It is for the above reasons; the National Association of Australian University Colleges implores the University of Tasmania to reverse their decision.

Comment

Comment

Twenty (one); Response to Ormond College Essay

NAAUC would like to thank a resident of Ormond College, known publicly only as Ellie, for having the courage to share her experience of rape on campus. Ellie’s determination and bravery in publicly responding to her experience should be an inspiration to everyone, and we are incredibly grateful to her. We hope that her essay will incite a bigger movement towards a real, lasting change in residential communities around Australia. You can read her essay here.

We also want to acknowledge the response of the college’s Master, Lara McKay, who not only supported Ellie’s decision to publish her essay, but also embraces ‘frank and fearless conversations about issues that are difficult to talk about’. NAAUC will always support students and staff leadership teams who work hard to improve the safety, health and happiness of their residents. The residential experience has the capacity to be a wholly enriching environment for students. Through Ellie and Lara’s leadership, we hope that they are one step closer to ensuring that their college is a safe and enriching experience for everyone.

However, we know that sadly Ellie is not alone in her experience. While Ellie has done an incredible job in keeping her residence accountable, this issue is still not going away. NAAUC strongly believes that this is an opportunity for Australian residences to stand up and work together to create lasting change. Residential communities have so much power to be a force for good in every single resident’s life, and while some are working exceptionally hard to ensure that they provide an enriching student experience, there is far more work to be done. We want to work with residences to ensure that this behaviour is actively not tolerated. As Ellie and Lara made clear, it is imperative to listen to your residents, listen to their stories, and listen to their ideas. If NAAUC can be of any assistance to you or your residence, please reach out to us.

To other survivors, we stand with you, we believe you and you do not stand alone. We want to support and assist you however we can.  If you require support, there are many support services which are available within your state and university, details of which can be found here.

 If you would like to contact NAAUC please do not hesitate to email the NAAUC President, Jonty Boshier president@naauc.edu.au

Comment

Change The Course

Change The Course

NAAUC’s response to the AHRC “Change the Course” Report (2017)

Combating Sexism

In light of recent residences-related events in the media, NAAUC would like to make this statement.