Dear staff and students,
I am sure you are all as appalled as I am at reports today of homophobic bullying by a member of our community toward a fellow student at Ursula Hall last year.
We are better than this.
This is a campus where we pride ourselves on being one of Australia's most diverse environments for staff and students, and we hold the principles of acceptance, inclusion and equal opportunity at the core of ANU values.
Ursula Hall has long had a reputation for being a welcoming and inclusive community. My understanding is that senior staff at Ursula undertook a thorough investigation and sought the assistance of the entire Ursula community to help find the perpetrator. But we haven't yet identified the member of our community who used anonymity to bully a fellow student. While there hasn't been a repeat of the incident, the idea that we might need to consider undermining the privacy of our student residents in their homes by installing security cameras is not where I think we should be.
This type of bullying takes place in the shadows. It prospers in silence. We each need to call out bad behaviour when we see it. We each play a role in maintaining a culture that is inclusive and respectful.
I am proud that so many staff and students are members of the ANU Ally Network.
The more Allies we have, the stronger the network on campus is, the more powerful the culture of inclusion and respect is for all for people who identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ*)
An Ally understands the reasons why many LGBTIQ* staff and students are fearful of being harassed or discriminated against, and why it is important to have Allies who are prepared to speak out on their behalf or advocate alongside them.
I encourage you to become an Ally. The first step to becoming involved is to take part in the regular training the Ally Network runs for staff and students. For more information on the Ally Network and the staff and student Ally training sessions, visit the website.
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, 6247 2525 After hours 131 444
ANU Counselling Centre, 6125 2442
ANUSA/PARSA Student Assistance Officers, 6125 2444 (ANUSA), 6125 4187 (PARSA)