Broderick Report Five-Year Review (2022)

Executive summary of the 2022 Social Research Centre survey regarding Cultural Renewal

In 2022 St Andrew’s College commissioned the Social Research Centre (SRC) to conduct a survey five years on from the Broderick Report. The data in the ‘University of Sydney Cultural Renewal Project, 2022 Residential Colleges Survey- St. Andrew’s College’ compares results from the same survey conducted in 2017 to 2022 and covers student involvement, support, sense of belonging, alcohol-related behaviours, bullying and hazing, and sexual harassment and assault. The following provides an overview of various aspects of student experiences and perceptions at St Andrew’s College and a comparison with the broader University of Sydney residential college averages.

Positive and Negative Aspects of College:

Two thousand twenty-two results indicate a strong level of engagement and support at St Andrew’s College, with 93% of students participating in activities and 90% feeling supported by peers and staff in 2022. Additionally, 88% of students experience a sense of belonging, representing an increase from 83% and surpassing the USyd college average.

While most damaging aspects of college life have decreased between 2017 and 2022, there has been a significant rise in the feeling of being stigmatised for attending college. This percentage has increased from 57% to 64%. Disappointingly, St Andrew’s students feel this stigma more than the college average of 56%.

Student Leaders:

There has been a positive trend in relation to student leadership, with the perception of support from student leaders increasing by 8%, from 84% to 92%, surpassing the broader college average of 79%. Simultaneously, there has been a reduction in the percentage of students who feel student leaders possess too much power, declining from 10% to 5% across the five years.

Alcohol-Related Behaviours:

Attitudes and behaviours relating to alcohol have also seen a positive shift. The feeling of excessive focus on drinking has significantly decreased by over 10%, down to 9% from 20% across the five years, indicating a tangible shift in drinking culture. Additionally, the belief that drinking helps socialise and make friends has decreased from 53% to 49%, despite an overall increase in the broader college average. Whilst it is still disappointing that approximately half of students feel the need to consume alcohol to make friends, the researched global trend of heightened social anxiety post-COVID-19 pandemic could be a factor.

Bullying, Exclusion, and Hazing Behaviours:

St Andrew’s College has seen significant reductions in bullying, exclusion, and hazing behaviours experienced by students, as well as witnessing such behaviours from 2017 to 2022. In contrast, the broader college average has increased in some areas.

Despite a substantial reduction from 32%, nevertheless, 18% of students reported experiencing bullying and hazing, which is still higher than the college average of 15%. It is, therefore, an area requiring ongoing work. Notably, 70% of these experiences occurred during ‘O-Week’, indicating that what is now referred to as ‘Welcome Week’ at St Andrew’s College is the time to focus on ongoing cultural change. Although the percentage of students seeking support for bullying, exclusion, or hazing has increased significantly from 38% to 51%, it is concerning that half of those who experience these behaviours still do not seek help. Formal reporting remains notably low at only 6%, an area for enhanced awareness and education.

Sexual Assault and Harassment:

The 2022 SRC survey measures the incidence of sexual assault at St Andrew’s as 4%, down from 5% in 2017. For comparative purposes, it is relevant to note that the ABS calculates the incidence of sexual violence against 18-24 year olds as 4.2% per annum. The SRC survey included students whose experience at St Andrew’s extended for two, three, and four years. Thus, it is clear that sexual assault at St Andrew’s is considerably less than in the community at large. However, any amount of sexual harm is too much. We will continue to invest in education and cultural renewal to eliminate sexual harm in all its forms from St Andrews.

Students’ experiences relating to sexist remarks have dramatically decreased from 13% to 4%. However, the overall prevalence of sexual harassment has increased to 20%. Furthermore, there is a gap in students’ understanding of what constitutes sexual harassment, as the percentage of students who recognise their experiences as such has decreased. This is, consequently, an education space to focus on moving forward. Encouragingly, there has been a significant increase in witnesses of sexual harassment taking action, rising to 74% in 2022 from 41% in 2017, demonstrating that Bystander Intervention education is having a positive impact.

The ‘SRC 2022 Residential Colleges Survey – St. Andrew’s College’ Report is available.