Liv Hambrett

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Against College Policy – or Simply College Culture?

Sydney University must be so proud. In 2009, two months out of the next decade of the millennium, they’re still managing to actively foster a misogynistic sex culture on campus. How wonderfully progressive, particularly seeing as their latest stand against sexual morality has taken place on Facebook – they might be archaic in their social beliefs, but at least they’re perpetuating them with technology. It’s a step. Progress. Go you good things.

The latest embarrassment to befall a university that has long prided itself on both its age in a young country, and its academic standing, is a Facebook page titled ‘Define Statutory’ created by the bright young sparks at St Paul’s College. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, these luminaries of Australia’s future define themselves as ‘Anti-consent’ which is always a bit of a laugh, isn’t it.

The Reverend Canon Ivan Head, warden of the all-male St Paul’s College, as well as labelling the site as ‘directly contrary to stated college policies’  issued a satement saying, ‘college officers … endeavour to listen to gender based conflict or complaint(s) with compassion, insight and the capacity to refer to relevant legal authorities.’  However the outgoing master of Wesley College, a co-ed college on campus, the Reverend David Russell, ‘this is a story that has to be told. There is no question in my mind that women are seen as meat. That is the awful ugly truth of it.’ Sounds like there are some communication problems happening here.

Bloated by self importance, money and elitism, Sydney University has got to take a long, hard look at what seedy cultures they are allowing to exist within their sandstone walls. Perhaps it is time for Australia’s oldest university to simply grow up and stop seeing progress as a threat to their privileged standing. The uni, like the city it is named for, can no longer rest on a pretty face and reputation.

I know. Spoken like a true Macquarie University girl. Or, you know, like a girl who can define statutory and is pro consent. Either way.


  1. newswithnipples

    10 November, 2009 at 2:12 am

    I can’t believe we still have to have these arguments. Rape is wrong, so don’t rape people. It’s not hard, is it? I doubt things will change at Sydney Uni, because it’s being dismissed as “a few bad apples”. Changing a culture is hard. Look at rugby league. Look at Australian society and sexism. Sigh.

  2. oliviahambrett

    10 November, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Agreed re the culture won’t change, and we still have these arguments for that exact reason. Nothing done is ever ENOUGH to truly make inroads on entrenched cultural and social behaviour and presumptions. Pisses me right off.
    PS: Love your blog’s name

  3. newswithnipples

    10 November, 2009 at 4:46 am

    Thanks. I get some odd visitors though.

    Did you see that the NUS rated Sydney Uni as the best in Australia in terms of the student experience? They must be kicking themselves.

  4. oliviahambrett

    10 November, 2009 at 5:05 am

    Ha, unforrrrtunate timing hahaha

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