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Toxic St Paul’s Pride – Pomp, Privilege and Pro-Rape?

St Pauls College is in hot water again over sexist Facebook page posts. Credit: Flickr


The pride of young privileged males, St Paul’s College of the University of Sydney, is now exactly where Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence did not want it to be last week – at the forefront of a damaging expose on the toxic culture within its walls.

This time the college is in hot water because of a Facebook post that compared sex with large women to “harpooning a whale” but was liked and shared almost a hundred times.

“G’day lads, if you ever want to get rid of some chick who either won’t leave your room after a root in the morning, of if you’ve harpooned a whale and she’s taking the whole bed preventing all chances of sleep, I’ll be there with a purposeful cockblock to rescue you,” the post read.

The uncouth incident was met with outrage from female Sydney University students and community members, who then called out the college’s audacious refusal earlier in the year to take part in a cultural review led by former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick.

Sadly, this episode is just the latest in a running horror story at St Paul’s. From barefaced misogyny, to savage ‘hazing’ practices whereby first year students are dumped in random locations, stranded without food or money, brutally beaten or verbally abused and bullied incessantly to the point of suicide, the prestigious college has been an absolute riotous introduction to adult life for many teenagers.

The all-male college of St Paul’s is a gaggle of elitist boy-men, living off Mummy and Daddy’s income while playing a dangerous game of Lord of the Flies. Sadly, we shouldn’t be overly surprised. The age of the entitled, emotionally corrupt youth is upon us.

To compound these acts carried out by people who are supposed to be beacons of the Australian future, we look to Vice Chancellor Spence and see him on the one hand denouncing St Paul’s sexist culture of weeding out the weak, while on the other, allowing the college to be the only one who has refused to take part in the university-wide Broderick Review.

The irony is that the Broderick Review itself was triggered in part by a St Paul’s College pro-rape Facebook page in 2009. But instead of a bi-partisan cultural review, St Paul’s College will be investigated by … wait for it…its Old Boys.

Prepare for much secret handshaking and the inevitable “if you scratch my back, I’ll give your Little Johnny a graduate position at my prestigious firm.”

This is playing out like a B-grade 80’s movie where the revolting rich teenager commits a crime and gets away with it courtesy of his wealthy father – “It’s not what you know son, it’s who you know.”

Sadly, even though the college have finally relented and will partake in the Broderick Review, I’m not sure we will see much change in the current university culture. Toxicity of this brevity cannot be undone in mere months.

When and if the college saves face- this time around- the community should keep a watchful eye on them, because just like naughty kids, the moment we turn our back, they’ll probably get up to their old antics again.

St Paul’s College warden, Reverend Doctor Ivan Head, and college council chariman Angelo Hatsatouris have both stepped down since the damaging media explosion, as the college prepares to hand over almost $1million for the Broderick Review.