St Paul’s Collegial Canker

All-male St Paul’s College at Sydney University was described as having an ‘alcohol-soaked culture of ritualistic sexism’, following disclosure of pro-rape Facebook page ‘Define Statutory’ put up by its enlightened residents. Rape charges at neighbour colleges have been raised; demeaning initiations, point-scoring for sexual conquest and other low forms of immature macho behaviour. Social events include ‘Tight & White’ evenings where funsters soak girls’ clothes, drink to excess and more.

Unsurprisingly many St Paul’s collegians come from ‘elite’ all-male private schools. Affluence and education are no protection from poor socialisation at single sex schools. KC has reported on this central problem and the positive outcomes of changing to co-educational schools.

Continuing the same abnormal segregation into university life is a recipe for further trouble. Male solidarity, team sport, alcohol and hormones are mixed with adult privileges and the heady Oxbridge treatment & ethos promoted by these colleges.  Parallels have been drawn with the aggressive, predatory sexual behaviour of ‘elite’ NRL players.

St Paul himself (more hellenistic jew than anglican) had a mixed track record of enlightened attitudes to women, telling his mate Timothy: “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or assume authority over a man; she must be quiet”. He said plenty more about the primacy of men, Adam before Eve, etc., which opens up some fascinating theological discussion. Suffice to say that ‘post-Pauline’ scholars toned it all down by re-interpreting scriptures to give him better press.

Strangely St Paul’s words to Tim are not mentioned in the college website. But perhaps his teachings are handed down in their secret initiation rites, covering group think techniques, male tribalism, drinking protocols, chivalry and etiquette with the opposite sex.

Predictably the university hierarchy from VC down is appalled and shocked by the scandalous revelations, promising procedural reviews and disciplinary action against a few miscreants (most collegians being well-behaved, earnest lads). The giant elephant in the room remains undiscussed: the fundamental perversity of this permissive, male-only environment.

All those in denial should, like St Paul, take the road to Damascus. Conversion to more enlightened principles of equality of the sexes awaits them. And remember: apartheid always finishes badly.

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