The University of Sydney’s residential colleges have not committed to releasing their individual reports from former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick’s review into college culture.
While the University has committed to publicly releasing any report it receives from the review, it confirmed that “any material provided directly to [colleges] is a matter for them”.
USyd commissioned the review in May 2016, following revelations about sexual assault and harassment and sexism at a number of residential colleges affiliated with the University.
The review will culminate with Broderick providing “a proposal to the University and Colleges to ensure effective and cohesive action, which builds on the independent cultural change programs underway at the Colleges,” a University spokesperson said.
Students have heard virtually nothing of the review since it was commissioned, though the spokesperson told Honi last week that “the feedback to date indicates that the students have found the focus groups engaging and informative”.
“They have appreciated the opportunity to share their views on cultural renewal and enrichment as well as describing the great strengths of college life,” the spokesperson added.
Honi asked all six residential colleges last week about the review, and St John’s, Wesley, Sancta Sophia and the Women’s College all, in almost identically-worded responses, said the decision will be made by their respective college councils.
Women’s College Principal Dr Amanda Bell specified the decision by the Women’s College council will occur “once the final report is received”.
St Andrew’s College did not return Honi’s request for comment.
The review is expected to be complete in November this year for all colleges except St Paul’s, which sought to join the review in June this year — over a year after the other colleges.
St Paul’s College Vice Warden Geoff Lovell, in contrast, said, “Reports received by each college participating in the project will be confidential to that college”.
USyd Students’ Representative Council (SRC) co-wom*n’s officer Imogen Grant told Honi, “The university committing to release the report is a step in the right direction and an achievement for advocates who have been pushing for accountability and transparency from university management.”
However, she said, “It is incredibly disappointing that not a single college has committed to releasing their reports.”
“The report is a critical public accountability mechanism that will allow experts, advocates and students to push for reform and hold colleges answerable for their culture.”
“This provides no ability for the university community to track progress and ensure change is occurring.”
St Paul’s has not technically joined the review yet, however both the University and Lovell told Honi, “constructive discussions have taken place in recent weeks” and that if these continue, Broderick will begin some work this semester, which will be complete in 2018.
Lovell said, “We expect that the project will strengthen what we do well here at St Paul’s and enable any negative dimensions of campus life for young adults as men and women to be further removed.”