The University of New England have responded to a damning report into hazing culture at Australia universities.
The Red Zone Report, published by Australian advocacy group End Rape On Campus, documents the culture of harassment, abuse and assault at a number of university residential colleges.
But vice chancellor Annabelle Duncan said the university was taking “strong, meaningful” steps against the activities in the report.
“UNE has a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment and assault, and to behaviour that degrades students and the student experience,” she said.
“The incidents reported by EROC, obtained under a Freedom of Information request, occurred more than a decade ago. UNE has since made considerable progress in stamping out this sort of activity.”
A number of alleged incidents of sexual assault and harassment at UNE were revealed by the national series of Freedom of Information requests lodged by Channel 7 FOI editor Alison Sandy.
Alleged incidents revealed by FOI include students nonconsensually filming women while showering and repeated harassment via online messaging platforms.
The report also documented St Albert’s tradition known as ‘Morality Court’ where students are required to divulge details of sexual experiences every week.
It is alleged students were rewarded and fined based on their sexual experiences.
“Those events that are inherently degrading, like the “Morality Court”, have been eliminated entirely,” Professor Duncan said.
“In 2017, some of the college induction events were maintained, as they have become part of college folklore, but on the understanding that hazing would not be tolerated.”
The university confirmed it was also working to change the relationship between college life and alcohol.
“The university upholds the right of all students to live and study without unwanted interference or harassment from others,” Professor Duncan said.
“The Red Zone report shines a harsh light on times when this ideal has broken down.
“UNE is decisively addressing the flaws of the culture that supported such breaches of trust, and will continue to strengthen processes to ensure that the university is a safe, supportive place for all those who want an outstanding education.”