Former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick has told the University of Sydney’s scandal-plagued colleges to regulate alcohol and enforce a zero tolerance approach to sexual misconduct by students to deal with a culture that has long accepted hazing and denigration of women. In a detailed study jointly commissioned by the university and colleges, Ms Broderick said that 26 per cent of women and six per cent of men said they had been sexually harassed since commencing as students at the colleges. “Six per cent of women and one per cent of men reported that they had experienced actual or attempted sexual assault,” she said.

“In 95 per cent of the incidents and in all the incidents reported by women, the alleged offender was male. The data is compelling.” Ms Broderick’s review also found that 11 per cent of women students in the colleges had felt they should have sex to fit in or be accepted. And 50 per cent of students said they had witnessed bullying, intimidation, hazing or pressure to participate in humiliating activities since joining their college. The five colleges involved in the report, St John’s, St Andrew’s, Wesley, Women’s and Sancta Sophia, said they would fully adopt all the recommendations from the Broderick review within two years.

The college’s performance will be assessed in another study in three years‘ time and Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence warned them if they failed to remain committed to reform their independence was at risk. “It is something the (NSW) minister for education is watching,” he said. Currently the colleges are independent from the university with their own NSW act of parliament. Ms Broderick’s findings followed interviews with over 40 per cent of the 1500 or so current students at the colleges, either conducted either one-to-one or in group discussions.

She said that for women, the college experience was often different to their male peers, including experiencing exclusion or isolation, pressure to drink alcohol, sexist remarks, the pressure to have sex or hook up to fit in, experiences of sexual harassment and of sexual assault. She also called on the colleges to clamp down on alcohol consumption in the college bars, and bring in qualified managers to run them and hold the liquor licences. She said all colleges should have a common policy so students couldn’t “alcohol shop” and they needed to end the practice of offering “free” drinks funded by student club fees.

Ms Broderick also said the colleges’ bullying and harassment policies must “strictly prohibit hazing or any other behaviours that compromise students’ physical or psychological safety and wellbeing. Swift action should be taken in relation to those who breach this policy,” she said. On sexual misconduct Ms Broderick went a step further and said the colleges needed a stand-alone, zero-tolerance policy with a commitment to strong action against breaches and proper support for victims and survivors. One Sydney University college, the all-male St Paul’s, refused to join the Broderick review until six months ago.

It relented after an abusive incident earlier this year in which a student posted a sexually denigrating message on Facebook which was liked by a large proportion of students led to extreme pressure from the university to institute reforms. Vice-chancellor Michael Spence said then that the college had a culture of “deep contempt for women” which went to its “very licence to operate”. Because St Paul’s joined the Broderick review late the report on its culture is not yet complete.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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Recently I’ve been in Darwin, speaking with church leaders about the Northern Territory Government’s proposed changes to their anti-discrimination legislation, including a proposal that the language in the Act be ‘modernised’ to remove so-called offensive language, such as the terms “man” and “woman”. This would surprise most Territorians, who see no offence in using terms that define biological truth. But perhaps of more concern is Labor’s plan to remove the right of faith-based schools and places of worship to hire staff on the basis of their beliefs. This is a direct attack on freedom of conscience and thought.

When calling for religious freedom, proponents are not arguing that the State should give some exceptional right. Rather those who advocate for freedoms are arguing that every human, by virtue of their humanity, has the right to freedom of conscience. With same sex marriage legislated, this issue is going to have a huge impact on the general public, as most care facilities and charities are run by Christian organisations. And If they end up closing down rather than violate the teachings of their faith, absolutely vital public services will be eliminated. But back to the Northern Territory.

Can you imagine the NT Government passing legislation that would mean an organisation such as the Greens Party has to hire a climate change denier, or a major land developer? It would be absurd. Why then, should Catholic, or independent, Christian or Muslim schools be made to hire staff who do not align with their beliefs? It is certainly not in keeping with our international commitments or how other sectors of society, such as political parties need to operate. Australia is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which protect parental rights to teach their children according to their beliefs.

The rights of Australian parents are currently under serious threat from Marxist-inspired ‘Safe Schools’ programs that support schools assisting children to change their gender even without parent’s permission. This is wrong. And it must stop. Sadly, it would seem that Australia is becoming a place that no longer champions freedom of religion and thought. The Australian Christian Lobby is pushing back on this as we believe that every human being is created in the image of God. When did Australia become a place where people were forced to do things against their beliefs?

Source: Blog by Wendy Francis Australian Christian Lobby

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A supply teacher has been refused further work at a Christian college after it emerged he was in a relationship with another man. Craig Campbell was told his views on same-sex relationships were incompatible with the ethos of South Coast Baptist College near Perth in Western Australia. It is understood Mr Campbell, who attended the college as student, told senior colleagues about his relationship after posting what was described as a “suggestive” picture on social media. Principal Des Mitchell was quoted by the Western Australian newspaper as saying: “The image he posted created interest in his personal life, including his sexuality.

“I shared with him that, at present, there is an inconsistency with his beliefs on sexuality and the college’s beliefs.” Mr Campbell said his struggle to keep his boyfriend a secret from the college was made more difficult when three pupils arrived at the wedding of his aunt. He told the gay and lesbian website, Out in Perth: “I told colleagues I was in a relationship, and obviously this is something that I believe is fine from both a moral and a theological standpoint”. Mr Campbell also said hiding his same-sex relationship contradicted with his desire to instil values like honesty in his pupils and to see them live their own lives free of discrimination.

Source: Premier News Service

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