St Mark’s College at North Adelaide has denied there is a toxic culture at the residential college and said it would fully investigate allegations made by a former resident of degrading hazing rituals.
Aria Kirwan, 18, told Channel 9’s 60 Minutes program she was forced to participate in humiliating acts including a “sex tour” of the college and eating food that had been spat in.
Ms Kirwan said on her fourth day at the college, she was forced to take her top off.
“In what part of society is that alright?” she said.
“If that was happening at school, the people would be expelled, if that was happening in the workplace, you wouldn’t have a job and it’s really not OK for people to pressure you into doing things like that and to back you into a corner so that you feel like you can’t really say anything but yes.”
She has since left the college and said her complaints were not listened to.
In a statement, St Mark’s College has strongly denied there was a toxic culture at the college, but said it would launch an internal investigation.
It said it had also unsuccessfully tried to contact Ms Kirwan and her family to gain a full understanding of the allegations.
“The college is extremely concerned about the serious nature of the allegations and will launch an internal investigation to check their veracity and will take appropriate action, if and when necessary,” the statement read.
It said it would also commission an independent review of its orientation week policies.
In the statement, the college also strongly denied Ms Kirwan’s concerns were dismissed.
“Bearing in mind that what she told them was quite different to what she asserts on air, the college staff made it clear to her they did believe her; discussed her concerns and how they would be addressed and also telephoned her mother on two occasions also to discuss Aria’s concerns and to assure her that Aria was safe and looked after,” the college said.
The allegations come after the Red Zone report revealed allegations of sexual assault and harassment at colleges around Australia.