CW: Sexual assault
A verbal altercation broke out between co-Wom*n’s Officer Katie Thorburn and a plain-clothed campus security officer after the guard attempted to pull down new posters calling on the University to take greater action against sexual assault on campus, during yesterday’s annual Information Day.
According to a post shared on the University of Sydney Wom*n’s Collective Facebook page, the guard was “aggressive and intimidating” and was unable to name the university policy he was enforcing.
“This use of intimidation tactics aims to shut down on-campus organising around sexual assault,” the post reads.
“This incident further exemplifies the University’s lack of commitment to creating an honest dialogue about the issue of sexual assault on campus.
“If this is how security treats posters about sexual assault, how would security treat an actual incident of sexual assault?”
Multiple witnesses allege the security guard said to Ms Thorburn “I don’t want to speak to you, woman”.
Ms Thorburn said she was “shocked” at the derogatory use of the word.
“He was clearly using misogyny in an attempt to dismiss my reasonable request that he state the policy he was enforcing,” she said.
In response to the allegations, a University of Sydney spokesperson said that they did not direct the removal of the posters but that “both Grounds staff and Campus Security Officers enforce this policy daily on campus.”
The policy referred to is an Advertising Policy, with Section 4 (Graffiti) dealing specifically with posters.
“Many groups attempt to place posters all over campus and unless the policy is policed, the grounds of the University would become a large billboard,” said the spokesperson.
Witnesses told Honi that only Wom*n’s Collective posters were removed, while posters advocating for other groups on campus were ignored.