The University of Sydney Union (USU) has announced it will launch a new education program in 2018 designed to teach clubs and societies (C&S) executives how to deal with incidents at their events.
According to a statement from USU President Courtney Thompson, the program aims to target issues surrounding consent and the provision and consumption of alcohol.
The USU hopes this program will allow “leaders to be better equipped to deal with and report inappropriate behaviour”.
The USU has conducted a review of the entire C&S program over the last two months, which focused on ensuring high standards of safety procedures and risk management strategies.
This review found the “systems are entirely adequate for managing the risks” associated with C&S activities, but the organisation is still seeking to address issues surrounding student safety and consent.
In her statement, Thompson said she wants C&S leaders to “have a better understanding of the framework and procedures that exist to support them, when managing incidents at their events”.
She told Honi the USU is “going to be working through the specifics of the program over the next few months so that its ready for implementation in semester one next year”.
The move has been welcomed by a number of C&S executives.
Tim Seguna, the University of Sydney Politics Society President, told Honi “PolSoc would participate in all such programs to their fullest extent”.
“Having a better framework and procedure of dealing with alcohol related issues would make it easier for the society to deal with any issues were they to arise.”
“I’ve also been a leader at a Faculty first year camp and believe that this is where the education program could have the greatest effect, as there has been a lot of misunderstanding on how to appropriately deal with incidences from a society perspective”, he said.
Honi investigated the ramifications of a lack of education for C&S executives at faculty camps earlier this year.
Sydney Arts Students’ Society (SASS) President Jacob Masina told Honi, “the SASS Team is excited what this will mean for faculty clubs going forward and the direction it provides our organisation to run better events that are safer for all members and those involved.”
Sydney University Radio Group (SURG) President Andrew Rickert told Honi, “Anything that improves the knowledge of C&S executives and allows them to better lead their communities is welcomed by SURG”.
“As one of the only clubs with a Code of Conduct that our members must follow, our executive already holds legal responsibility over the actions of our members on the air — and we should follow the same high standards off air.”
In addition to the training sessions, the USU plans to improve “accessibility and dissemination of safety information” early next year.