As the peak representative body of tertiary students living on campus, the National Association of Australian University Colleges believe that our industry is one with a rich history of fostering young leaders and of continuing to provide students with an opportunity to be involved in their wider university community. We acknowledge that it is not a perfect industry, however this culture of sexism is not a problem that is unique to residential living. It is found in all levels of corporate Australia, sporting codes and federal politics. It permeates throughout society regardless of age, intellect or socioeconomic standing. The root of this problem is much deeper than the ‘college culture’.
NAAUC is saddened that people have had their residential experience marred by discrimination, especially since the experience of residential living is so positive for the majority. However, we believe that the residential industry is becoming proactive. We are aware of our own shortcomings and continually looking for ways to improve our residences. Students and administrations alike are taking the stance that this behaviour is not acceptable. We do not want this to define our communities.
The National Association of Australian University Colleges engages with residential students directly. Across the country we have seen a trend in the last few years of students wanting to tackle these issues. Residences are becoming more progressive, re-evaluating their traditions and striving to foster communities that are accepting of all people.
Passionate and driven individuals reside in on-campus communities and are having a tremendously positive impact across Australia and globally. Unfortunately, these aren’t the stories that are told about residential living. We rarely hear about the push for mental health awareness, giving back to local communities or the increasing interest in LGBTQIA+ issues which are currently occurring in our industry. We don’t hear about the changes already being made to combat sexism in our residences, including the involvement of the Hunting Ground Australia Project, or the hard work to tackle drinking culture by partnering with organisations such as Red Frogs Australia and Alcocups. These are the untold stories, but they are occurring every year in the Colleges, Halls and various on-campus residences that make up our industry.
We are, and will continue, to work hard to better our residences and offer safe, supportive and vibrant communities for all.