Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill, today welcomed the Minister for Education’s acknowledgement of the toxic culture at residential university colleges and that the Government would review the Acts that govern them.
This is however an about-turn after the Minister wrote to Ms Haylen in April declaring he thought these concerns “should be taken up directly with St John’s College Council”. Minister Stoke’s reply indicated that the Government was no longer considering a proposal for reform.
This again was a direct contradiction to the former Minister, Adrian Picolli’s advice in 2016. Ms Haylen wrote to the former Minister about the need to act on St John’s College. Piccoli replied that the Government was awaiting survey results of St John’s alumni before acting on the reforms.
From his statement today, it is clear that the Minister has finally seen the light when it comes to the misogynistic, toxic culture of residential colleges. The old boys cannot be left to reform these archaic cultures that lead to harassment and assault.
Comments attributable to Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill
“This Government was offered an opportunity to modernise the governance of an old boys residential college. Instead of getting it done, they walked away.
“This Government can no longer afford to pay lip service to the issue of campus sexual assault. A proposal for reform at St John’s College has been sitting on the Minister’s desk since 2014 and successive Ministers have done nothing about it.
“If the Minister doesn’t act and deliver meaningful change now, it’s clear he is hostage to the old boys club.
“The longer this Government leaves the issue, the more women are going to be harassed and assaulted.”
“Reports of sexual violence and misogyny at the colleges goes back decades. The time for action is now.”