Letters //

Letters – Week 12, Semester 2

All the complaints, compliments, grumbles and gripes from Week 12.

Survivor advocacy

Dear Honi Soit eds,

My name is Sharna Bremner and I am a PhD student at Adelaide Uni. I wanted to thank you for your coverage of the recent failures of USyd to address sexual harassment, and for standing with survivors.

For the past 18 months, I have been working closely with two of my best friends, Annie Clark and Andrea Pino, and other US-based students who have been advocating for survivors on campuses across the United States. I am now part of a large network of student activists who have had some amazing successes in addressing sexual assault and harassment on college campuses, including being involved in the recent White House initiatives, 1 is 2 Many and It’s On Us, and who also offer online support services to fellow survivors of campus assault around the world. We have been looking at ways to implement a similar movement here in Australia, as we know that sexual assault and harassment is far too common on our campuses, and is woefully under-addressed by universities themselves.

Thank you again, for your excellent coverage of this particular incident and for standing with the survivor. Please feel free to pass on my details to the survivor. If she would be interested/feel comfortable, I would be more than happy to connect her with one of our support or activist networks.


Sharna Bremner

PhD Candidate, University of Adelaide

I hope they choke on wasabi

Dear Editors,

As a former student of Syd Uni (graduated last millennium!) I was shocked to hear three Syd Uni women talking at a sushi bar on the north shore last night about the sexual harassment case Honi Soit has reported on. The horrifying part was that the women were complaining about female student’s complaint and Honi Soit’s actions, arguing that the chances of the perpetrator (as your editorial rightly calls the male student) getting a “good job” had been destroyed by your publication of his name. Right before I deposited a large amount of fresh wasabi into their misos, I wanted to say “you know he could just NOT take photos of his naked partners while they had their eyes closed and NOT show the photo around”!!

Once again the public discourse on rape and abuse of women’s bodies by men focuses on the woman. She is perfectly entitled to go to bed with a partner expecting that he or she will not take a secret surveillance of her. She is perfectly entitled to complain about a breach of that expectation. And to so do for as long as she wishes. Had the man NOT taken his action, he would NOT have to worry about the consequences including publication of his name.

Honi Soit has a long proud history of making hard editorial decisions and while publishing the perpetrator’s name is controversial it is hardly in the same realm as having a naked photo of one’s self having sex distributed without one’s knowledge.

Sydney Uni has a troubling history of managing such incidents and it is clearly doing no better now than in the 1990s. I applaud the woman involved for coming forward and Honi Soit for supporting women’s rights to study in higher education and live in campus residences free from sexual assault and the disturbing and callous actions of men like the perpetrator and his friends (also perpetrators).

My sense is that the perpetrator is indeed unlikely to secure a good job into the future – because he is obviously a stupid tool. I hope he does suffer the kind of indignity which our student colleague suffered at his hands. And well done Honi Soit.


Jo Smith


Dear Honi,

I wish your letters page wasn’t so consistently shit and filled with ignorant whines – I do not give a crap about what the Conservative Club think about anything.

It’s recent news that they can read, but who knew they could write too? Tell them to go piss around on the pages of their own “newspaper”.

Save my eyeballs,

Olga McSmoulder

Graduate Diploma in Clinical Dentistry (Conscious Sedation and Pain Control), VI

Chaneg 2.0

Dear Honi,

Thank you to Mr. Joshua Dabelstein for giving this member of the “young right” enough inspiration to “rationalise getting up in the morning”.

Indeed he has done the campus right a great service by shedding light on our bleak existence. Cheers m8.

Unfortunately Mr. Dabelsteins argument that the divestment referendums result is the “Perfect example of market forces” is flawed.

If the students who voted in favour of divestment chose to transfer to a university with no financial interest in coal, that would be a “Perfect example of market forces”. However, the referendum is about as close to a price signal as a poll taken outside Merewether asking students if they want Coke in the bubblers.

Separating decision-making authority from responsibility is a poor model for university administration.

Harry Stutchbury

Arts III

Vice-President University of Sydney Conservative Club

Autonomy is not for me

Dear Editors of Honi Soit,

I’m writing to express my unsatisfactory toward the idea of an autonomous issue against racism.

I know this might sound controversial, but I do have my reasons:

What is the aim of having an autonomous issue by people of colour? To raise the attention of racism, to fight against white supremacy and discrimination, to express the opinions on racism…yeh, I get it. As a person of colour and an international student myself, I really get it. I have experienced racism and I think it is important that more people should be aware of it. I am happy to see an issue of Honi Soit on it, but I am NOT happy with the idea of autonomy.

Why are white people excluded by an issue on racism? I know what the answer would be: because people of colour have the privilege- as the victims of the racial hierarchy, we have more experiences on such issues, and thus we have more say! Hooray to the thought that experience justifies speech!

Hold on- I don’t think such logic is reasonable- having 1st-person experience does not necessarily mean being aware. On the other hand, a 3rd-person experience might be valuable well- a witness of discrimination, and an attempt of stopping someone from being a racist- are these just nonsense because the speaker is white? Isn’t it being racist in another way? –Sorry, I don’t think so.

It’s exactly like a fake feminist who do not even listen to any opinions from males, ONLY because they are males. It is only blind hatred. It is only a silly revenge- so we were/are discriminated by certain white people/males, now it’s time for us to hate all the white people/males, in the holy name of anti-racism and feminism!

I don’t have any problem if the racists are excluded, which I think is the only justified case of an autonomous issue on racism. By excluding white people, are you also implying that ALL the white are racists? What the fight against racism leads to is the absence of discrimination and racial hierarchy, not a new hierarchy where white people are finally no longer at the top.

Everyone, of every race, should be involved in the education of anti-racism and be encouraged to express their opinion on the issues. The blind hatred is useless and childish- no one wants to be discriminated, and the consequence of exclusion is probably more hatred- nothing more.

Thus I am not happy with the idea of a people-of-colour autonomous issue. I’ve further included an artwork by me and my boyfriend, which was rejected early by the issue because of his whiteness.* I love the result of collaboration, and I think the drawing itself express the harmony among the races- we shall work together instead of hating each other.