23rd March 2022
Students Deserve Better
National Student Safety Survey (NSSS)
CW: sexual assault and sexual harassment
Many sectors in Australia have recently experienced a reckoning. The release of the 2021 National Student Safety Results today have shown us that the University Sector is not immune to that reckoning, and in fact, by failing to act and make changes sooner, has enabled and encouraged a culture of misogyny and violence.
The results tell us that since starting University, 15.3% (1 in 7) of Monash students have experienced sexual harassement, and 5.1% (1 in 20) have experienced sexual assault. This is completely abhorrent and unacceptable. Students have a right to be safe.
MSA welcomes the commitments made by the Vice Chancellor today to strengthen prevention, education, online safety, and Monash’s intersectional approach. But students deserve more than just broad, general statements of principle. They deserve action, now.
Institutions and people in positions of power must make change. All of us, especially men, must step up and take responsibility.
MSA has always fought for a safer student experience. We are continuing this, with an intersectional approach, by:
- AFFIRMATIVE CONSENT: MSA, alongside MONSU Caulfield and MONSU Peninsula have already sent a call to action to the University, calling on Monash to adopt a model of Affirmative Consent in the Sexual Misconduct Procedure. Consent is not just the absence of a no, but the continuous presence of an enthusiastic yes.
- MAKING MRS ACCOUNTABLE: Making Monash Residential Services (MRS) accountable for the assault and harassment that takes place on residential accommodation. There must be clear and consistent procedures and review of MRS by an external body.
- CHANGING THE CULTURE ON RES: Culture starts at the top. Calling on Monash University to hold College Heads accountable for responding to allegations with trauma-informed, evidence-based processes. Residential Advisors need appropriate compensation and better support.
- STUDENT REPRESENTATION ON RES: Having student representatives involved in the hiring of staff at MRS, annual review of College Heads, and misconduct panels for residents and RAs.
- MAKING CLUBS AND SOCIETIES SAFER: Working with Clubs & Societies to adopt a specific Sexual Misconduct and Gender-Based Violence Procedure with increased training for club leaders with increased training for clubs leaders to better call out discriminatory behaviour and support people who have experienced violence.
Thank you to everyone who shared their lived experience throughout this process. You deserve better today and every day. You deserve institutions that will protect you from abuse, violence, and harassment.