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Guilds call on UWA to cancel lecture by controversial commentator Bettina Arndt

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Curtin and UWA Student Guilds are disappointed that UWA is hosting controversial commentator Bettina Arndt on campus and want the university to cancel the planned appearance.

In an open letter, UWA Student Guild has called on the university to reconsider allowing Arndt to speak on campus saying that the substance of her ideas was grounded in harmful, biased and unsupported rhetoric.

UWA Student Guild said that the decision showed a lack of respect for survivors of sexual violence who could be among staff and students at the University.

“UWA has committed itself to the Respect. Now. Always campaign and has an obligation to both staff and students to challenge dangerous attitudes and practises regarding sexual assault,” said Curtin Student Guild President Finlay Nolan.

“Bettina Arndt should not be given the opportunity to contribute to dialogue that discourages the reporting of sexual violence and perpetuates ignorance,” she said.

After the Human Rights Commission report, Change the Course, was released universities across the country acknowledged that they have a critical role to play in addressing sexual assault and harassment on university campuses.

“It is hypocritical for a University to say that they support cultural change on their campus to address sexual violence but then profit from Ms Arndt downplaying statistics and discounting the experiences of sexual assault victims,” said Kate Le Roux, Women’s Department Officer.

“There has to be zero tolerance to sexual harassment and sexual assault and student and university leaders must stand together to make our campuses safer,” she said.