Comment on the Independent Review of Residential Colleges at the University of New England.
The Australian Human Rights Commission’s report “Independent Review of Residential Colleges at the University of New England” paints a damning picture of derogatory residential hazing, sexual harassment and sexual assault at the Armidale university.
For many students around Australia, their residence is a home away from home. A student residence should be a place that encourages student growth by exposure to new ideas, making new friends and learning new skills. Residential communities have so much power to be a force for good in every single resident’s life. Most are working exceptionally hard to ensure that they provide an enriching student experience while guaranteeing a safe environment for all students.
NAAUC will never defend aggressive hazing, sexual harassment or sexual assault. To survivors around Australia, 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, we have included the link here.
The stories published in the report are awful, and we are glad that the University of New England has accepted all the report’s recommendations. Investigative journalism and research will always be important to prove the depth and breadth of these problems, but they must be accompanied by proactive changes by staff members and student leaders. NAAUC welcomes the approach of the Vice-Chancellor and the students condemning this shameful cultural problem.
NAAUC talks a lot about the Lt. Gen. David Morrison quote: “there are no bystanders — the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” Change is hard, especially when you must change the preconceptions of your friends, and within your home. This is everyone’s opportunity to “show moral courage and take a stand”. NAAUC will always support students and staff leadership teams who work hard to improve the safety, health and happiness of their residents. We want to work with residents to ensure that this behaviour is actively not tolerated.
To those students living at UNE advocating to improve their residences, we give you our full support and encourage you in your efforts. For the best change to occur, it starts with you.
If NAAUC can be of any assistance to you or your residence, please reach out to us.
If you would like to contact NAAUC please do not hesitate to email the NAAUC Executive team on firstname.lastname@example.org