There has been a number of changes to the membership of the College Council in recent months. As reported previously, Professor Joanne Wright, UQ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), stepped down as the University Senate representative and was replaced by Professor Sarah Derrington, Dean of the TC Beirne School of Law at the University. However, after only one meeting, Professor Derrington was appointed to the Federal Court as President of the Australian Law Reform Commission and resigned from Council. We are awaiting a nomination from the University to replace her.
After many years of outstanding service to the Council, John Allpass and Ross Dunning AC both resigned their positions. John was appointed to the Council in 1993. A Chartered Accountant and former managing Partner of KPMG, he has chaired the Finance and Investment Committee since its inception, during which time the Council has received much more regular detail setting out our financial position, and a restructured investment program was implemented. Ross has been a Member of Council since 2001. He has chaired the Buildings and Grounds Committee since its inception, presiding over the systemisation of our rolling capital planning and expenditure program and a comprehensive review of our Campus Master Plan. We wish them both well for the future. John has been replaced by Rob Jones, former Chief Executive of KPMG, Queensland, and Ross by Cameron Mana, an Old Johnian and leading property development professional, who will be well known to many in the St John’s community.
Universities and, in particular, university residential colleges, have been in sharp focus in the latter half of 2017 following the publication of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission Report – Respect. Now. Always. – on sexual assault and harassment in Australian universities. This report was much commented on in the media and was followed up in early 2018 by 60 Minutes on Channel 9 and by a report called The Red Zone, by journalists Nina Funnell and Anna Hush, which investigated sexual violence and hazing in Australian university residential colleges.
Our new Warden had already commenced a review of St John’s College policies and procedures to deal with these matters, and the Council has approved and implemented a comprehensive Code of Conduct. The Council has also welcomed UQ’s response to the issues, including the policies, procedures, and resources which the University has now put in place. We are committed to working in close partnership with the University in dealing with any issues which arise in the College. The Council has also welcomed the commitment of the current Student Club Executive to review their activities and traditions and ensure they are lawful, do not breach the Code of Conduct, and are consistent with current community standards and values.
All of this has obviously given the new Warden an unsettling, if not stimulating, start to his tenure. However, he has coped extremely well and the Council has supported his restructuring of the College’s support staff through full-time appointments of the Reverend Dr Ceri Wynne as Senior Tutor and Chaplain, and Mr Glen Cronan as Vice-Warden who is now living in Oakes House with his wife Lynne, and visited often by their three adult sons.
by Dr Douglas Porter, Chair of Council