It's been another busy few weeks at the University and I hope that everyone, our new students in particular, are settling into campus life well and managing to find some relief from this heatwave.
Last week the University released the formal change proposal for the future structure of the School for Culture, History and Language (CHL). You can read more about it on the CHL Review page. I recognise that the change process has been very difficult for many of the CHL staff and the proposed structure may result in some staff leaving the University. I would like to reassure all staff that we are deeply committed to ensuring each person affected by this proposed change is treated with care and respect. I would like to thank all staff involved in the process and I am confident that the proposed new arrangements will position the School for future success.
On Tuesday I joined more than 200 scientists from all over Australia for the annual Science meets Parliament event. This is an important event that allows us to remind politicians and parliamentary leaders about what science does and why it matters. I was really pleased to see so many ANU scientists and science communicators feature strongly in the program.
I was fortunate to catch up with three outstanding student leadership groups of the University last week - the Residents Committee Presidents, the Residential Community Coordinators and many members of the Senior Residents Group. We talked about a range of matters relating to student accommodation, welfare and safety on campus. We all agreed that the overall ANU residential experience is good but we still have some things to work on to make it even better. This is a big priority for me.
It was a real highlight to join with Drs Graham and Louise Tuckwell on a Saturday night recently to welcome the third cohort of Tuckwell scholars to ANU. The University is now home to 68 Tuckwell Scholars and the program continues to grow from strength to strength. I was delighted to meet and speak to this year's scholars and I look forward to watching their progress over the coming years.
Last Thursday night I spoke briefly before the screening of a film called The Hunting Ground. This is a documentary film about the prevalence of sexual assaults on university campuses in the United States and the failure of a number of American universities to respond effectively and appropriately to these reports. I watched the film at home the night before the screening and I was appalled and deeply saddened by many of the young women's stories featured in the film.
Sexual assault, rape, sexual abuse or any unwanted sexual attention has no place at this University, our university. ANU will not be a place that hides, covers up or stands by. Our staff and students have the right to be part of a safe and respectful university. I took this pledge at the Commencement Address and it is a promise I intend to keep.
Finally, over the last two weeks I spent a full day in five of our seven ANU Colleges meeting staff and students. It's truly exciting to see and hear first-hand the great work that is being undertaken across these areas and I look forward to seeing the continued success of your efforts. Next week I will visit the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific and I'll soon visit the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science.
At each College meeting I spoke about my ambitions for the University and its place in the world. I see ANU continuing to shape modern Australia through excellence in research, in education and in societal transformation. But if we want a truly excellent university and one that sits comfortably alongside the great institutions of the world, we all, every one of us, need to work together to make ANU exceptional. I need your input, views and contributions to help me make the very best decisions for ANU.
I hope you all have a great weekend and I'll talk to you next week.
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