La Trobe University Student Union Condemns Bettina Arndt on Campus
The La Trobe University Student Union strongly condemns Bettina Arndt, the views she represents, and the University’s decision to re-authorise the event, “Betting Arndt: Is There A Rape Crisis On University Campuses?”. Above all things, the LTSU believes in diversity, inclusivity, and respect for all students in La Trobe University. At the top of this list is ensuring that all students at La Trobe are heard, represented, and safe. The LTSU is concerned that the University would allow having a person on campus to speak about such views that contribute to the issues of sexual assault and harassment, especially victim blaming. It is especially shameful, given the current issues surrounding sexual assault and harassment issues on our campus.
It is in the University’s Duty of Care to provide a safe and an accessible campus, and any form of sexual assault or harassment that occurs on campus should be condemned, and the University should provide appropriate, effective, and sufficient measures of protecting all students on campus. While programs like Speak Up! and Student Complaints have been created to combat this issue, the LTSU has always advocated that we can and should do more.
Allowing a person such as Bettina Arndt to come to University Campus to propagate these views could contribute to a worse narrative of victim blaming. While the LTSU believes that she is allowed to say whatever she wants to say, we believe that she should understand that she has certain influence, and it is not right to use this influence to propagate victim blaming. The LTSU also believes that while she has a right to say what she wants to say, the LTSU also has the same right to disagree with what she is saying.
If any student is uncomfortable or needs support in relation to Bettina Arndt coming to speak on campus, please contact:
P: (03) 9479 5308
P: (03) 9479 8988
La Trobe University Counselling
P: (03) 9479 2956
You may also choose to communicate your opinion on this event to La Trobe University's administration:
La Trobe Uni Vice Chancellor's Office
P: (03) 9479 3397
Dr Richard Frampton
T: (03) 9479 3666
Statement from Michael Iroeche, 2018 La Trobe Student Union President
I, in the strongest possible terms, condemn Bettina Arndt, the views she represents, and the University’s decision to allow this event to proceed and for having re-authorised this event. The issue of sexual assault and harassment is a serious issue on campus. Every student and staff member on campus has the right to feel safe and be safe on campus. It is appalling and shameful that someone who expresses views that contribute to the issues of sexual assault and harassment and especially victim blaming would be allowed to speak on campus. I and the 2018 office bearers stand for free speech however free speech should not be allowed when it has a seriously detrimental effect on the students that we represent. I strongly urge the university to re-consider allowing Bettina Arndt on campus. I wholeheartedly disagree with her being on campus.
P: (03) 9479 5026
Statement from Zainab Abou-Eid and Aishwarya Kulkarni, the 2018 LTSU Women’s Officers
We absolutely and wholeheartedly condemn Bettina Arndt’s views and publicly denounce the university’s decision to re-authorize the event. We would like to reassure all female students that your safety is our number one priority. We are working towards eradicating any forms of sexual harassment and ensuring women feel safe at university. If you have concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us, we are here to help you, each and every one of you.
P: (03) 9479 2314
Statement from Silje Melsom, the 2018 LTSU Queer Officer
As queer officer for 2018 I want my feelings known that I strongly oppose the hosting of Bettina Arndt’s “Is there a rape crisis on campus?” at La Trobe University. As a student of this university, I have to say I am beyond appalled that La Trobe is going ahead with this event. Arndt’s blatant victim-blaming is absolutely disgusting and does not belong at a university. As someone who lives on campus, and therefore spends every day of the academic year at university, I feel as though I, and every other student, should have the right to feel safe at my educational institution and my home. What Arndt chooses to speak on makes me feel incredibly unsafe, and I am one hundred percent certain that I am not the only one to feel this way. The university is currently allowing this event to go ahead under the pretence of free speech, however I do not think free speech should come at the expense of student safety, health, and wellbeing. As someone who wants to enter the public health sector, and has great interest in sexual health and wellbeing, Arndt’s viewpoints are disgusting and disappointing. Survivors of rape and sexual assault already have lived through enough trauma. I urge you to contact the university in regards to this event and let your feelings known. If you would like help to do so, please feel free to contact me
P: (03) 9479 2314