Review of Trinity’s Residential College Culture
17 October 2019
The results of the review of our Residential College culture have been released. This review was an important exercise in taking stock of the current student environment at Trinity. It has affirmed much of what we do well, while also giving us a clear indication as to how we can make Trinity a safer and more welcoming place for all.
Why we did it
In 2017, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) published Change the Course: National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in Australian Universities. The AHRC made a series of recommendations to deal with sexual assault in a university setting, covering leadership and governance, changing attitudes and behaviour, responses to sexual assault, and residential colleges and university residences. Recommendation 9 was that residential colleges should commission an expert-led review of the factors that contribute to sexual assault and sexual harassment in their settings.
Trinity College accepted this recommendation and elected to take the review process even further to gain valuable insight into the overall inclusiveness and safety of our Residential College. The wellbeing of our students is our number one priority and the review was seen as an opportunity to learn and improve.
How we did it
We wanted to ensure that this cultural review was rigorous and managed with utmost professionalism. We therefore engaged the Honourable Professor Marcia Neave AO, former judge of the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Victoria, and commissioner of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, to compile the overall report. We refer to this project as the Neave Review. The Review is informed by qualitative and quantitative information and included commissioning an expert in quantitative sociology at the University of Melbourne to create and conduct a student engagement survey. All findings and recommendations in this Review are the result of an analysis of Trinity College policy documents, direct observation of student training, interviews with staff, interviews with – and submissions from – students, parents and recent alumni, and student survey results.
What we learned
The results of the one-year review (see below) show that our culture has many strengths and the majority of the students who participated spoke very positively about their experience at Trinity College. In particular, they noted the strong community, academic and personal support, range of activities on offer and lasting friendships they’d made.
That said, we also acknowledge that our Residential College culture has some shortcomings and we wholeheartedly apologise for any adverse impact these may have had on our students and past students. We are taking steps to ensure these issues are addressed and will be proactive in our efforts to be recognised leaders in practicing respectful relationships, gender equality and inclusiveness.
What we’ll do next
We accept all the recommendations proposed in the Neave Review and, in collaboration with students, staff and the leadership team, are devising the most effective methods to rectify the shortcomings identified in the review. We recognise that residents of the college are adults and with that comes both freedom and responsibilities. Together we are working to provide a living and learning environment that is safe, welcoming and inclusive for these young adults.
We have begun rolling out our action plan (see below) and will release an update on our progress in mid-2020.
We sincerely thank everyone who participated in this review, particularly our students for providing such honest accounts of their time at Trinity College. It was only through student participation that we were able to more fully understand our college culture and find ways to improve it.
We are working diligently to address the recommendations in this review to ensure Trinity College offers the best possible learning and living environment for all students.
If you wish to discuss any aspect of the review or have any concerns of a historical nature, please contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professor Ken Hinchcliff
Warden and CEO of Trinity College
Download Neave Review