Message to the Emmanuel College community

19 March, 2018

UPDATE ON INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO THE EMMANUEL COLLEGE 2017 STUDENT CLUB YEAR BOOK

As Emmanuel College made very clear last year, the inclusion of offensive comments in the 2017 Student Club Year Book was completely unacceptable and a breach of both the College’s and University’s policies in relation to acceptable conduct.

The breach was so serious that the College commissioned Paul Wilson, a former Assistant Commissioner of Police, to conduct an independent investigation into the matter.

After a thorough investigation, Mr Wilson found there was insufficient evidence for any disciplinary action against individual students who were genuinely distressed by the comments that appeared in the Year Book and did not play any part in their inclusion.

Mr Wilson concluded that the processes around the production of the Year Book were inadequate and made a number of recommendations including:

  • The development of formal guidelines for the development of the Student Club Year Book, including the requirement that a senior College staff member edit the final version of behalf of the Principal prior to printing.
  • That the College’s documents and policies around conduct and governance be reviewed.
  • That a specific discipline policy be developed to address breaches of the College’s Code of Conduct.

While there were also no adverse findings in relation to any staff, the College acknowledges that our Principal and management team could have handled this matter better.

Education and training

Emmanuel College is committed to ensuring that the culture and practices of the College adhere to the highest standards of community decency. We are fully committed to uphold The University of Queensland’s policies in relation to sexual assault, sexual harassment and other unlawful behaviour: https://ppl.app.uq.edu.au/content/sexual-misconduct-policy.

All Emmanuel College students are already:

  • required to and facilitated in completing UQ’s Consent training
  • introduced to UQ policies on sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying
  • familiarised through formal sessions, with College policies which are aligned with UQ policies, and with how to seek help within the College, the University and through the legal system.

In 2018 we will:

  • work closely with the UQ Sexual Misconduct Unit to ensure that we are doing everything possible to protect and support students who may be victims of such unlawful behaviour
  • provide training to all staff in the College with the support of the UQ Unit
  • review the student handbook and other applicable Emmanuel College policies to ensure that a sexual misconduct action response is prepared and circulated widely to all students and staff.