BE UPSET, VERY UPSET

University of Sydney student, contributor to Honi SoitSydney University’s weekly student newspaper and Fairfax journalist – three credibility-killing qualifications – Mary Ward, has written an article for Daily Life describing the horrors of male sexual misconduct on campus. The article is, of course, sensationalist nonsense.

According to Ward, events on campus should upset everyone, everywhere:

Be upset that, until the Vice-Chancellor was informed of the oversight during a public Q&A session in May, to report a campus sexual assault students were required to give their full name, as well as make their report through a generic website form also used for allegations of academic misconduct which asked students if they had “taken any steps to resolve the matter” themselves. (A new system is being launched in 2017, and a phone hotline has since been introduced, after previously only being available for staff.)

Be upset that the University of Sydney’s SRC legal team has been so inundated with sexual assault cases that they are calling for the University to fund a dedicated sexual assault solicitor.

And be upset that the University’s own projection data estimates that there have been 340 unreported sexual assaults within its community each year for the past five years, yet their current focus is a non-committal solution that will, at its most effective, touch the lives of less than five per cent of its students.

Upset point one (above): it is entirely reasonable to expect anyone making allegations of sexual misconduct to provide their full name. In any event, all matters of sexual misconduct worth mentioning should be reported to police, not to a university.

Upset point two: lawyers claim to be overworked. Wow.

Upset point three: Ms Ward must know that claiming “the University’s own projection data estimates that there have been 340 unreported sexual assaults within its community each year for the past five years” is untruthful.

The projection was actually calculated by Honi Soit based on an informal survey conducted at the University of Sydney. In fact, Honi Soit was warned that no conclusions could be drawn from the survey:

In an emailed statement to Honi, a spokesperson for the University denied any conclusions could be drawn from the data, though did not given any reasons why.

Well duh, it should be obvious to any university student than no conclusions can be drawn from an informal survey.

The bottom line: read a Fairfax publication and you’ll be misinformed.

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