I notice that this 2009 post from Mary (almost exactly three years ago) is getting a lot of hits today, and I’m deducing that it’s because of searching on St John’s college at the University of Sydney due to this SMH story: Culture of anarchy at a college in crisis.
The Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, has been urged to help save St John’s from the mob-rule mentality that almost led to the death of a teenage girl.
In the comments to Mary’s post, Liam made the following cogent points, and reading the SMH article it appears that nothing much as changed:
A bit of essential reading on this is for anyone unfamiliar with the Sydney and Melbourne colleges is Peter Cameron’s Finishing School For Blokes which was about the similar culture at Sydney Uni’s St Andrews College in the early 1990s. The important point that he made was that the culture of the Colleges wasn’t a University thing in isolation; they were fixed parts of the business and law elites in the cities, and of the small group of Sydney GPS and elite Catholic private boys’ schools—and that it was impossible to change anything at the Colleges, short of abolishing them altogether, without addressing the Sydney and Melbourne upper bourgeoisie’s culture of educating boys.
Old men came back to the College to relive their days, to serve on the committees, to resist any change, and to make sure the experience for their sons was similar to the one they misremembered. It’s not that the College rape culture was an abberration of youth, it’s that it was a central and necessary part of the Sydney elite’s self-identity, and that you could see it made older and more powerful in any major Australian corporation or law firm.