‘Appalling’ uni hazing shocks Q&A panel
A WOMAN'S story of being horrifically hazed at a Melbourne university's residential college left Monday night's Q&A; panel "dumbfounded".
Audience member Melis Layik had just asked a question about how higher education institutions deal with rape, sexual assault and harassment accusations when host Tony Jones invited her to share her own encounter.
Last year, she alleges three men climbed through the window of her second-storey room one morning at 3am and threw raw meat at her as she slept.
"They knew I was vegan (and) they thought they could personally attack me," the woman said of the hazing incident.
"I went to the college and each time they did nothing about it. They made me feel like I was making a big deal out of it and I was seeking attention."
Melis said she has since moved out after the university and college management failed to act on her complaints.
Award-winning musician John Butler, who was on the panel, was visibly shocked by the woman's account and called the actions of the men "a criminal act".
"That is a stupid thing to bloody do. That is not what any human being should be doing - especially at three o'clock in the morning. That is a criminal act."
As a father, Mr Butler said he was "dumbfounded" by the story and why nothing was apparently done to support the woman.
"I am dumbfounded by this kind of culture that allows that to happen to you, first of all. Then when nothing is done about it … You left the school, you left the campus. They didn't.
"As a father of a son and a father of a daughter, I am just kind of a little bit perplexed about this kind of culture that seems to be allowing this to happen. I hope my daughter never has to deal with it and I hope my bloody son never acts like that."
Liberal politician and former Education Minister Simon Birmingham described the story as "appalling" and shouldn't be tolerated.
"Those three should be tossed out of the university college, rather than you. That is the wrong outcome and it is an unfair outcome in those sort of instances."
While universities often don't run residential colleges, Mr Birmingham said they should impose strict expectations on them and cease affiliations if standards aren't met.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young told the woman: "I'm really sorry that happened to you. That is appalling."
Last year, a survey of more than 30,000 uni students by the Australian Human Rights Commission found one-in-three had been sexually harassed or assaulted on campus.
Institutions pledged to change in the wake of the report, which sent shockwaves across the country, but a survey in July found just four per cent of students think their uni provides enough support to victims.
Universities Australia then released a set of 12 guidelines aimed at helping unis respond to sexual assault and harassment incidents.
Monash University and Mannix College have been approached for comment.
Earlier in the night, the panel discussed the issue of female representation in the parliament and how some politicians have been reportedly treated.
Ms Hanson Young said that if women match the "rough and tumble" behaviour of men, they are "labelled a b**** or too aggressive" while if they bristle at it they are told they're too soft.
"After 10 years, I've had enough. I don't think that is the way the parliament should be.
"If I can't speak about it, if I can't call it out, as a woman in the parliament with privilege, how on earth can I expect a young woman on the shop floor or a woman who works behind the bar to call it out?
"I have to - I felt that I had to lead by example and I have been given incredible support because of that."
On whether or not the culture of politics can evolve, Ms Hanson Young said: "I'm an optimist. I always have been."