Statement on methodology of Broderick cultural renewal report

21 December 2017
Following media coverage of the Broderick report on cultural renewal at residential colleges today, the University of Sydney issued the following information about the methodology.

Commissioned by the University and five of its residential colleges – Sancta Sophia CollegeSt Andrew’s CollegeSt John’s CollegeWesley College and Women’s College – the Broderick report was released on 29 November 2017.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence welcomed the report and accepted all recommendations. At the time of release, Dr Spence said “We share a commitment to ensuring all of our students are safe and look forward to working with the colleges to make sure all students feel comfortable on campus and college grounds at all times.”

Today the University issued the following statement:

“The scope of the project Elizabeth Broderick & Co were tasked with undertaking was to conduct a cultural review which addressed a broad range to aspects of college life.  The seriousness and commitment the colleges have shown to addressing negative areas of college culture, and therefore the students, is exemplified by the fact that college leaders have committed to implementing all of the recommendations made by the Broderick Review, including those in relation to sexual misconduct.

"The review represents an important moment in the cultural history of our University and will drive real cultural change.”

Ms Broderick’s project team spoke to around 600 students (42 percent of the College population) who were provided with a range of options to engage with the Review, including:

  • joining discussion groups,
  • talking to a team member individually or
  • providing a written submission via a confidential email address.

A University spokesperson said, “Ms Broderick’s team made every effort to encourage students to participate in whichever manner they felt comfortable.”

During the course of the project, Ms Broderick addressed College dinners at every participating College where she took additional opportunities to give information to students about all of the options to engage with the team - via discussion groups, confidential one-on-one interviews, the provision of confidential submissions and encouragement to participate in the survey.

Students were also invited to participate to a confidential survey. In total, 1001 College students (69 percent of the College population) completed the confidential survey administered by the Broderick Review.

The Broderick Review did not publish any case studies due to the high and very real risk of the stories leading to identification of the students within the small college and intercollege community. Additionally, some students specifically requested that their information not be disclosed.

To repeat these stories, or to inadvertently identify these students in a public report would have been unethical and may have re-traumatised them.