The St Paul’s College council has proposed that the College accept female undergraduate students for the first time. Honi Soit understands that present St. Paul’s undergraduate students are “strongly against” the proposal.
Reverend Ed Loane, the Warden of the College, told Honi that the proposal arose out of considerations of whether “becoming a fully co-resident community would … best achieve the College’s vision and strategic goals.”
No date has been set for the introduction of female residents, with a period of “consultation” to be undertaken before a final decision is made.
He denied that the proposal was an attempt to ameliorate a sexist culture at St. Paul’s, saying, “since the Broderick review, cultural renewal has been actively taking place … with the support and warm cooperation of our student leaders.”
One St. Paul’s undergraduate student told Honi that “the general consensus amongst the undergraduates is to keep the college all male for now. With Women’s and other colleges just next door … we can always hang out with mates from all over.”
The University of Sydney Women’s Collective, which has previously led calls to “abolish the colleges,” told Honi that “St Paul’s is trying to ‘reform’ an institution which excuses sexual assault and bolsters rapists, by throwing some women into the mix. It will fail. Making St. Paul’s co-ed will only mean more women are assaulted at college…The deep culture of disdain for women, of excusing sexual violence, of promoting and covering-up for rapists will not change.”
The 2018 Broderick Report, which examined the culture at USyd’s residential colleges, found a history of sexist traditions at St. Paul’s, described as “degrading and demeaning.” The college promised to implement all of the recommendations of the report, but Honi has since reported on several hazing incidents.
In 2019, the College opened its ‘Graduate House,’ which caters to both male and female postgraduates.