Allegations of hazing have recently emerged over St Paul’s College’s annual ANZAC day celebrations this year. The celebrations traditionally involve college residents attending dawn service at Martin Place before embarking on a pub crawl across the city in their designated “platoons.”
According to the 2018 Broderick Report into St Paul’s College, “platoons” are formed through an auction process, where senior college students bid to have new college students, or “freshers”, join their group. Students stay with the same platoon throughout their time at college.
A source who wished to remain anonymous told Honi details of how “freshers” were led into a senior student’s room and supplied with alcohol and encouraged to drink under the pretense of an initiation rite to help them to get to know their “platoon” better before ANZAC day.
The source alleged that freshers were told to drink with the express purpose of vomiting, and that they were made to drink spirits from a live squid. The source further claims that the vomit, alcohol, and squid were mixed together, and that freshers were then made to drink this mixture.
Speaking to Honi, a college spokesperson confirmed that the college had received a report regarding an incident contrary to their Hazing and Initiation Policy, and that they immediately launched an investigation into the allegations.
Under the policy, a definition of hazing includes “practices that encourage excessive alcohol consumption.”
According to the spokesperson, the offending incident involved students at the college and occurred before the Easter break. However, they denied several of the allegations.
“We understand that no-one drank from a live squid, and that no-one drank vomit.” the spokesperson said.
Due to the ongoing nature of their investigations, the spokesperson said they were unable to provide any specific details of the incident, but stated that appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken once the investigation is complete.
Disciplinary actions available against students carrying out hazing practices include suspension and expulsion from the college.
The allegations come as St Paul’s is experiencing a change in governance which is seeking to reform the embattled college from its troubled history of hazing and sexism.
The existence of “dangerous and demeaning practises” at the college was confirmed in 2018 with the release of a report led by former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick. While St Paul’s originally refused to take part in the report, the college reversed its decision in late 2017, and has since sought to implement all the recommendations made by the report under the leadership of Warden Don Markwell.
“The College has consistently articulated its stated values of respect and dignity for all, and its commitment to a culture of safety, respect and inclusion,” the spokesperson said.