Posted November 14, 2018 08:33:10 A university that was once a bastions of progressive thinking has turned to cult-like behaviour in response to sexual misconduct allegations, with many students now refusing to attend lectures or lectures on topics including sexual harassment and gender diversity.
Key points:The Australian University of Technology has become known as the “Cult of Liberalism”Some students say they are reluctant to attend classes on the subject, which includes topics such as sexism and gender, because of concerns about sexual misconductThe university says it will work to improve the handling of allegationsThe school said it would be working to improve its response to accusations against professorsIt is a move that many university leaders say is in response a backlash against the “liberal” and “progressive” legacy of the university, which has become the focus of a series of allegations against its leaders.
Some students are now refusing lectures and lectures on subjects such as gender and sexual harassment, and some are refusing to go to university because of the harassment allegations.
The Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, which for years hosted an annual conference on sexual assault, was once known as “The Liberal Club” and was considered one of the world’s top research universities.
However, this year, ANU decided to cancel the event after a series, including sexual assault allegations, made against the university’s head of student life, Sue Saldana.
The university’s president, Richard Cooke, said the cancellation was the result of “a lack of trust” in the university and its leadership.
“We’ve always said we will make changes to ensure we have a safe environment for our students, and I have to say that we have had a real discussion about what needs to change, what needs change at ANU,” Mr Cooke told the ABC.
He said the university was working to make sure that all students, staff and staff of the ANU campus, including staff at the university library, were safe.
“In the past, our response to allegations of sexual misconduct was not adequate and there was a real perception that our response was not as strong as it could have been,” he said.
“Now we have the ability to say, if we need to take any steps to improve, that we are prepared to do so.”
In a statement, Mr Cooke said: “As an institution of higher learning, we have always been proud of our liberal heritage and our commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion.
Our students, faculty and staff have all been able to contribute to our vision and values of freedom and equality.”
But the ANZU’s president and vice-chancellor, Lisa Lek, said this was not the case at ANUB.
“It is with deep sadness and deep disappointment that we announce that we will be cancelling the 2019 ANU Conference on Sexual Assault and Gender Diversity and the 2019 Conference on Gender Diversity & Sexuality in 2019,” she said.
She said the decision was not about protecting the reputation of the institution or the students attending, but rather the university as a whole.
“The decision was taken in order to ensure that ANU can be the best place for all students to learn, and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff,” Ms Lek said.
Ms Lek also defended the university from the allegations, saying there had been a “significant increase in sexual assault”.
“In recent weeks, the number of sexual assaults on university campuses has seen a significant increase,” she wrote in the statement.
“As a university, we are deeply saddened by the allegations against our leadership, the University of Canberra, and we have been clear that we stand by our commitment and values as a university.”
This is not a decision we take lightly.
“Ms Lick also said the campus would be making a number of changes.”
An ongoing effort is underway to strengthen the safety of our campus community and our community-based community,” she added.”
These measures will include: a review of our procedures and policies for dealing with sexual assault complaints, including how to handle them when a complaint is made; a new and improved anti-harassment policy; a review to better identify the ways in which people with disabilities can contribute to the wellbeing of campus community; and a number the university has already begun implementing to increase safety at the ANUB campus.
“Ms Saldanas resignation came after a string of allegations made against her in the past month.
She had previously resigned in May, following an inquiry into allegations against her that included claims she had used a pseudonym and not told students about her alleged history of sexual assault.
She later apologised for using a pseudonym in a statement to the media.
In June, Ms Saldans resignation came just days after the ANUL reported that a senior colleague of hers had allegedly engaged in a campaign of harassment against a student who was a former colleague of her.
Ms Salkas resignation came days after an investigation into allegations of misconduct by Ms Salkan