Statement in Response to NSSS Release 23 March 2022

Statement in Response to NSSS Release 23 March 2022

4 months ago

The Residential Colleges within the University of Sydney today acknowledge the release of the National Student Safety Survey (NSSS) results. The survey shows that Australian higher education institutions – universities, colleges, and purpose-built student accommodation providers – must continue working hard to ensure that all students are safe on campus. Sexual misconduct in any form is unacceptable, and is not tolerated. Our society must continue working through a range of complex societal issues to decrease the prevalence of misconduct and increase reporting.

We are aware that the survey identifies issues in the residential setting, including purpose-built student accommodation providers and residential colleges.

Like many of our colleagues around the country, the Residential Colleges within The University of Sydney are committed to the elimination of sexual misconduct within the community.

One of the significant steps in our efforts to take action on this issue of was our participation in the cultural review process conducted by Ms Elizabeth Broderick. In 2017-18, we acknowledged that we needed to listen and change, and opened a new chapter of cultural evolution. This began by embracing and implementing all recommendations of the Broderick Report.

Some of the subsequent steps the Residential Colleges within The University of Sydney are taking to create safe, inclusive and diverse communities include:

• A strong policy framework that takes a zero-tolerance approach to sexual misconduct and harassment

• Improving reporting mechanisms and working with the University of Sydney Safer Communities Office to provide support for students living in residential colleges on campus

• Ensuring that governing bodies, staff and student leaders are committed to listening to survivors of sexual violence

• Providing a range of community living programs, including consent training, bystander awareness and respectful relationships training, and student-led discussion groups

• Committing to running surveys periodically, including a 2022 survey undertaken by the Social Research Centre, the body which has conducted the NSSS released today

We are seeing significant positive change within our own communities, and are aware that the overwhelming majority of college students feel safe and supported within residential settings within Australian universities. From the survey, we understand that the overwhelming majority of students who lived in student accommodation or university residences across Australia felt safe and had a strong sense of belonging. This is encouraging, but there is still work to be done here to ensure all students have a safe experience. There should be no exceptions, and there is always more we can all do. We are proactive in keeping student safety in the forefront of our conversations and it is our highest priority in managing our living and learning communities.

Cultural change takes time, and we are committed to working with the university and other bodies in continuing the journey towards a safer campus together.

Rev Dr Ed Loane, St Paul’s College

Mr Adrian Diethelm, St John’s College

Mr Wayne Erickson, St Andrew’s College

Ms Fiona Hastings, Sancta Sophia College

Mrs Lisa J Sutherland, Wesley College

Dr Tiffany Donnelly, The Women’s College