Hundreds of university students have reported being sexually assaulted or raped - yet only a tiny fraction of these claims ended in the perpetrators being expelled, according to an explosive new report.
A Freedom of Information investigation by Channel Seven's Sunday Night program found that there were 575 cases of reported sexual misconduct cases over the past five years. Yet only 2 per cent of perpetrators were expelled. In addition, fourteen cases resulted in suspension.
Sunday Night received records regarding sexual assault from 28 Australian universities, and, of these, 27 of these universities had reported cases. Other universities were contacted, but some gave no official response, while others refused for reasons such as protecting the identities of the victims.
The TV program also interviewed several victims of sexual assault on campus, and Dr Roslyn Arnold, a former council member of St John's College at the University of Sydney.
Dr Arnold was asked if she believed 'rape culture' existed at the colleges, and spoke about how horrified she was by the incident in 2012, when a female resident of the college was forced to drink a mixture of dog food, shampoo and alcohol.
"I was appalled that there seemed to be very few people on the council who were equally concerned and when I stood down, somebody looked at me and said 'You do know you're overreacting don't you?'"
"Universities are designed to inspire the very best in human thought and behaviour... but unfortunately, for some other students, it's anything but that."
The investigation revealed an overwhelming amount of cases happening in universities around Australia - however these are only the reported cases. A 2016 University of Sydney study showed that only one percent of sexual assault victims actually made a formal report to the university.
However, Professor Barney Glover, the University of Western Australia Vice-Chancellor and President, defended University campuses.
"Australian university campuses are very safe," he said.
"One of the challenges I think we experience on campuses right around Australia is a very difficult circumstance where a student has experienced the devastating result of sexual assault or violence and for whatever reason they aren't prepared to go to the police," he said.
"There's no place for perpetrators of sexual violence in Australian society, there's certainly no place for them in Australian university campuses, they should get out."
A nation-wide survey is currently being undertaken as a collaboration between the Australian Human Rights Commission and Universities Australia to assess how prevalent sexual assault is on campus. Students from Australia's 39 universities are being asked to participate in the study.