Media release | 25 June 2021

GSA’s statement on the University of Melbourne’s sexual misconduct policy

GSA strongly welcomes the University of Melbourne’s recent announcement finally acknowledging the need to act against sexual misconduct by creating a stand-alone sexual misconduct policy.

GSA President Jeremy Waite says, “This is an important step towards ensuring a safer campus for students and staff and improving the University’s response to incidents of sexual misconduct. This commitment was only possible due to the ongoing advocacy led by survivors and organisations across the University community.”

GSA, together with other representative bodies including UMSU, has advocated for a stand-alone policy since 2017 through our involvement on the Respect Taskforce. GSA is also leading the Safety on Placement project to ensure that graduates experience a safe learning environment at their placements or internships. We invite coursework students with compulsory placements to take the Safety on Placement survey.

While the University’s announcement is a step in the right direction, GSA believes the student community needs to be genuinely engaged in the co-creation of the sexual misconduct policy, and in its implementation and evaluation. We believe that students with lived experiences from a diverse range of backgrounds are best placed to effectively implement this policy. The policy must be inclusive of sexual misconduct experienced in off-campus spaces, including within online learning environments and on placement sites. In addition, the policy must also address instances of inappropriate conduct of supervisors towards graduate research students.

GSA has also endorsed UMSU’s Guiding Principles for Stand-Alone Policy on Relationship Harms. Through our participation in the University’s consultation processes, we have advocated for the inclusion of our recommendations and those of Guiding Principles in the new policy.

Our newly elected GSA Women’s Officer, Madeleine Charisis, will work with key stakeholders and the graduate student community to inform the policy’s development and implementation.

GSA looks forward to working with the University to ensure the policy is developed, implemented and monitored with ongoing and meaningful consultation with graduate students.

Download the media release (PDF)