We are a University that stands by our values and celebrates and respects the diversity and individuality of every single person.
It's a basic right that we should all feel safe, secure and respected when we come to work or study.
A year ago, the Australian Human Rights Commission released results of its first national student survey on sexual harassment and sexual assault in higher education.
The results gave our sector a serious reminder that, across Australia, we still have a long way to go to address this issue.
At RMIT, we accept nothing less than the respect, safety and security of our students and staff on campus.
One incident of sexual harassment or sexual assault is one too many.
It's something we do not and will not tolerate.
We've made some good progress against the Commission's nine recommendations for action.
But we can always do more.
And we are.
Along with educating our community about consent and respectful relationships, we've delivered bystander intervention education with a particular focus on student clubs and leaders.
We're supporting and responding to disclosures with care and urgency through better staff and student leader education as well as a stronger relationship with Victoria Police.
I'm proud our response has gone further than the report's recommendations.
Our program of restorative engagement, delivered by our own Centre for Innovative Justice, opens our doors and hearts to those who have been harmed in the past.
In line with this commitment, my entire executive team has undertaken specialist training in responding to sexual assault and restorative conferencing.
And we've made our invitation to each of you to play a role through our Be The Change Campaign.
Because as a collective we are much more powerful in driving a culture that understands that what you walk past you condone.
Thank you for your ongoing support as we continue to refine our actions so they are swift, comprehensive and appropriately support students and staff.
This is far from over.
We set out to change our course by setting the standard of condemning violence against women and gender stereotypes, calling out poor behaviour and by providing education about the impact.
By doing this, we will continue to create a community across RMIT that supports and cares about each other.
Please - take care of yourself, take care of each other, and find the courage to call it as you see it.
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