Leaders at Australia’s leading universities said they were deeply concerned about the conduct of the Australian University (UA), the pinnacle of the field.
A meeting has been called to discuss whether Australian University CEO Catriona Jackson should remain in the position
The field is under pressure to do more to prevent sexual violence on campus
Federal Education Minister Says Universities Are Not Doing Enough
The group, which represents Australia’s largest non-mineral exporter, is led by CEO Catriona Jackson, but members have expressed concerns over his handling of recent questions and reports about sexual violence. is rising.
In a letter to UA President Professor David Lloyd, Deakin Vice Chancellor Professor Ian Martin called for a meeting to discuss his future as CEO without Jackson.
The letter was sent to Vice-Chancellor Prof. Adam Shoemaker (University of Victoria), Prof. Attila Brangs (UNSW), Prof. Carolyn Evans (Griffith University), Prof. Renee Leon (Charles Sturt University), Prof. Margaret Seale (QUT). , Professor Pascal Quester (Swinburne University) and Professor Steve Chapman (Edith Cowan University).
The sector has recently come under fire from Federal Education Minister Jason Clare, among other politicians including the General Bench, the Greens and the opposition, for not doing enough to combat sexual violence. confronting.
Comments made by Ms Jackson in a recent Senate inquiry regarding promises of respect across the sector at Uniweek were denied by Australian University Commissioner Prof Lloyd, revealing that not all universities actually agreed. did.
Senators have called on the UA to clarify discrepancies in the chairman’s and CEO’s comments and increase industry transparency.
Deakin University Calls for Conference to Discuss CEO’s Future
In a letter sent to Professor Lloyd on August 4, Vice President Martin said Deakin had been concerned about Jackson’s grades for some time.
“The events of the past two weeks have only compounded these concerns, and concrete actions and statements around Respect Campus Week have prompted us to formally escalate the issue.”
The letter, which appears to refer to Jackson’s comments on the Senate inquiry into the consent law, said he plans to launch a dedicated “Respect at He said he plans to set up a uni week.
He said a dedicated industry-wide event would be held, citing the launch of a controversial 46-page good practice guide to replace the $1.5 million taxpayer-funded consent campaign.
“Both the workshop and the guide were very well received, and an important achievement is the decision, for the first time ever, to host a national Respect for the entire sector at Uniweek in the first semester of 2024,” she said. Stated.
However, when ABC asked UA president Professor Lloyd about the plan at the National Press Club last week, he was not actually confirmed and the vice presidents are still discussing whether it will be an industry-wide event. said that he was
An online statement that promised, “The university is committed to hosting a national Uni Week in the first semester of 2024,” has now been removed from UA’s website.
A press release issued after the vice-chancellor’s meeting said the university would opt for activities similar to Respect at Uniweek rather than the promised sector-wide event.
The letter from Professor Martin of Deakin University went on to request a meeting for UA members to discuss whether Mr. Jackson would continue in office.
“We discussed these issues today at a meeting of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee, and given these concerns, which I am aware are shared by others in this area, we have a forum for members to discuss this. We believe that there is a need for
“To this end, we recommend that during next week’s plenary session, an in-camera session be held in the absence of the CEO and staff to specifically discuss this issue.
“This will allow members to share their views and advise the Board on what actions should be taken on what timeline.”
ABC contacted all of the deputy prime ministers copied in the email and asked if they attended because they shared Deakin’s concerns, and if they had raised the issue individually.
All but one responded, but all declined to comment.
The Australian university did not respond to ABC’s request for comment.
Senators question UA CEO and chairman’s discrepancies
Liberal Senator Paul Scarr, chairman of the committee, told ABC that Australian universities needed to find out exactly what happened.
“I will definitely discuss these issues with my fellow commissioners,” he said.
“I strongly believe there are more questions that need to be answered now.”
Senator Scarr said more transparency was needed to find out what was happening at colleges when it came to responding to sexual violence.
“First, the university was unable to access a $1.5 million grant from the previous government to develop a sexual consent communication plan to address sexual violence on campus.
“Currently, universities can’t seem to agree on a common approach for a national campaign week to address sexual violence on campus.”
“Why? What happened between July 27, when Ms. Jackson gave her evidence to the committee, and last week’s media announcement that each university would take its own course?”
“How do the approaches of each university differ? Is the difference in approach based on evidence?”
“We need more transparency.”
Green Senator Larissa Waters agreed.
“Australian universities are evasive and inconsistent about what programs they run to address sexual violence on campus,” she said.
“It’s clear that we need oversight bodies to hold universities accountable for keeping students safe on campus.”
Education minister urges industry to step up efforts to tackle sexual violence
Federal Education Minister Jason Clare has recently criticized the university’s response to sexual violence and the university’s campaign to withdraw consent.
He previously called their approach “very disturbing” and pointed to discrepancies between the UA CEO’s comments on the Senate investigation and the chairman’s comments on the press club.
Questions over Catriona Jackson’s future as CEO of the Australian University have added to calls for the federal government to take further steps to hold universities accountable for sexual violence. It will be.
Politicians, students and safety advocates alike have called on the government to set up an independent task force to monitor college progress in curbing sexual violence and to penalize colleges that fail to meet basic standards. I’m asking for
Mr Clare said he has not ruled out the option Labor promised in 2019 but is awaiting advice from a working group that is considering the issue.
End Rape on Campus, Fair Agenda and Stop Campaign are among the organizations consulted by a working group led by Patti Kinnersley, CEO of Our Watch, a gender violence prevention group, all of which are independent. We are requesting the establishment of a countermeasures committee.
Clare said he expected individual universities and top institutions like the Australian University to also be consulted.
“I set up a process for giving us advice. I was on the phone with her last night about this, and he said, “Talk to STOP, talk to stop rape on campus, talk to Fair Agenda and make sure we get this right.” said.
“Because we believe there will be many other steps that need to be taken in addition to this to ensure that we provide the services our students need on campus.
“Whether it’s medical care, legislation, mental health counseling, or the type of resources and information needed, all need to be considered by this group and submitted to ministers towards the end of the year.”
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