Rose Alwyn, (front, with U of A students) a past president of Universities College of Australia, was poached from St Mark’s College at the University of Adelaide, where she has been Master for 12 years.
Rose Alwyn, (front, with U of A students) a past president of Universities College of Australia, was poached from St Mark’s College at the University of Adelaide, where she has been Master for 12 years.

Woman in charge of scandal-hit college to work at UQ

THE woman in charge of a university college where students published a "dick-tionary'' of degrading sexual conduct has been poached to work in Queensland.

St John's College at the University of Queensland yesterday announced it had hired Rose Alwyn as its first female warden, after an international search.

College chairman John Peden QC said Ms Alwyn would "bring a degree of professionalism to the role as a very experienced and competent leader''.

He said St John's College had "zero tolerance'' of abuse but could not guarantee it would never happen.

"Can we guarantee on any particular day there won't be students playing up? No we can't,'' he told The Courier Mail yesterday.

 

"I wish I could say to you there will never be an event of sexual misconduct on the University of Queensland grounds but that's not going to happen.

"There will be something happen at some stage - that's society.''

Mr Peden said the college was "on top of this (issue) all the time''.

"What we can do is not allow an environment to flourish where they get away with behaviour that is unacceptable,'' he said.

"It's important we have people who are well experienced in the area to know how to handle this behaviour.

"It's not a matter of saying an issue will never arise - it's a question of making sure we have the right system and processes in place to minimise the risk of things happening and to manage them when they do.''

Ms Alwyn, a past president of Universities College of Australia, was poached from St Mark's College at the University of Adelaide, where she has been Master for 12 years.

Both Anglican Church-affiliated colleges featured during an investigation last year into sexual violence and "hazing'' in Australian university residential colleges.

The Red Zone report, published by End Rape on Campus Australia, said students at St Mark's College had produced an "O-Mag'' in 2013 that included poems celebrating sexual violence against women, as well as a "college dick-tionary''.

Ms Alwyn was not mentioned in the report, and was unavailable to comment yesterday.

Ms Alwyn told 60 Minutes last year that the 2013 "O-Mag" was disgusting, abhorrent and the reflection of a toxic culture restricted to one bad year.

The report also singled out St John's College, were a group of male students surrounded a female student in 2016 and chanted, "No means yes, yes means anal".

Two other University of Queensland residential colleges - Emmanual College and King's College - were also criticised in the Red Zone report.

Mr Peden said he looked forward to working with Ms Alwyn when she starts in September.

"I think it's terrific news to have a woman of such quality coming to Queensland to lead the next chapter in what has been a male-led role for 108 years,'' he said.