The University of Sydney vice-chancellor, Michael Spence, yesterday called on the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Pell, who is the figurehead of St John's College, to ''do all he can to sort out" the culture of loutish behaviour by its resident students, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
''The college does not report to me or to the university, and the university is not represented on the college council,'' Dr Spence said.
''The governance of the college rests with the college council, which includes six representatives of the Catholic Church. I would urge Archbishop Pell to do all he can to sort out this issue.''
Cardinal Pell yesterday issued a statement supporting action. “If the reports today are accurate, decisive action is required. Enough is enough. Turmoil and bitter division have continued at the College for months, even after two independent reviews. Any allegation of criminal conduct must be referred to the police," his statemernt said.
In March, 33 students were suspended for allegedly being involved in the now infamous ''O'' Week ritual that left a teenage girl close to death in hospital.
Seven of the 33 have now seized all but two positions on next year's college council, including the top three of president, secretary and treasurer.
In the weeks after the female student was injured by an initiation ritual, Mr Bongers, University of Sydney officials and Cardinal Pell's office collectively agreed to draft in an impartial adjudicator.Ken Handley was a recently retired, highly respected judge from the NSW Court of Appeal.
After considering the evidence - and failing to flush out the ringleaders - he ordered the group to complete between five and 20 hours' community service.
The shadow federal treasurer, Joe Hockey, a former student resident at St John's, said yesterday the reported behaviour was unacceptable and deserving of investigation.''If there is inappropriate treatment of any person, then it deserves proper investigation and, where appropriate, it deserves to be properly punished,'' Mr Hockey said.
But wild behaviour was prevalent on campuses around the world, he said. He confirmed initiation rituals occurred at St John's when he was a student.''Let's not gild the lily on this sort of stuff,'' he said.
''I think if you open the lid on colleges and campuses and frat houses right around the world … by the general standard of behaviour, it would be deemed to be pretty lewd and inappropriate.''
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