Message from the Vice-Chancellor: St John's media coverage

8 November 2012

Dear students,

You will undoubtedly be aware that over the last few days there have been media reports of inappropriate behaviour by students of St John's College.

The University condemns behaviour of the kind reported in the strongest possible terms and I know from the commentary I have read that many of you feel the same way.

While this strong sentiment is understandable, it is important to remember that these unacceptable activities are being attributed to a relatively small group, one that represents a minuscule proportion of the University's total student population. Those St John's residents who did not take part in the sort of activities described in the media, or who were at most merely bystanders, need the support of their fellow students to enable them to remain resilient in such difficult circumstances.

I also know that some of you are concerned that the entire student body will be tainted by association. I want to assure you that I will do everything in my power to protect the reputation of the University and of our extraordinary student community, and I am working with both the College Visitor, Archbishop Pell, and with the NSW Premier, Mr O'Farrell, to develop a plan of action.

But first and foremost, I am very concerned about the health, welfare and safety of all our students. If you have been distressed by inappropriate behaviour and would like to speak to someone about it, please contact the University Counselling and Psychology Services (phone 8627 8433), the SRC or SUPRA, the University Health Service (phone 9351 3484), or your local doctor.

If you have more general but less personal concerns about the behavior of your fellow students, you are also welcome to speak to the Registrar, Professor Derrick Armstrong, who can be contacted on

In the face of this media barrage, it is important, particularly for the next few weeks, that you remain committed to your studies and focused on your larger goals at the University. I wish you well for the upcoming exams.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Spence