Sancta Sophia College: Statement of Cultural Renewal

I would like to thank everyone for their warm welcome in my first weeks at Sancta. Commencement on Saturday was a particularly lovely experience, especially meeting many of our new students and their parents. For those who could not be a part of it, we have included a copy of my address here

Our welcoming activities for new students are progressing smoothly and well. The rain yesterday did not deter a shopping excursion nor the ‘Quad Party’ (which simply moved to the Lower Common Room). Our Student Leaders are keeping a close eye on our new students to ensure smooth sailing for all, and everyone I ask is reporting settling in well. 

I am very much looking forward to meeting our returning students this coming weekend.

Statement of Cultural Renewal

As you are aware, Sancta Sophia College is committed to continuing the work begun last year in respect of the Broderick Review. During Commencement, representatives of the College Council, staff and students read out a statement of Sancta’s commitment to cultural review and renewal. A copy of this statement is here. Of note is the values articulated in this Statement have been discerned and articulated by our Student Leaders. I am impressed by their collective and individual commitment to providing a safe, welcoming, and enriching environment for every Sancta student.

Media Issues

You may have heard or read about issues being raised in the media today regarding colleges at the University of Sydney. We understand that there will be a story on the 7:30 Report tonight that will include a former student of Sancta, Justine Landis-Hanley.

Justine Landis-Hanley is an exceptional woman, and Sancta Sophia College is enormously proud of her. Throughout her time at the College, and ever since, Ms Landis-Hanley has conducted herself in a manner of which she, and all who know her, can be proud.

Ms Landis-Hanley faced a difficult time at Sancta following the publication of her article in Honi Soit in 2016. She had prepared herself for backlash from other sources, but not within her own home at Sancta – it is easy to see why this is the part that hurt the most.

Sancta staff and many students strongly supported the action Ms Landis-Hanley took at that time. We would like to reiterate our continuing support for her, as well as our admiration for her courage and talent as a journalist.

2018 student and staff leaders have reflected on Ms Landis-Hanley’s experience of 2016 to try to learn how we can better encourage and enable students to recognise and address the poor behaviour of their contemporaries, and how the College itself can support students in difficulty.  

Sancta prides itself on its respect, safety and support for women and men residing here. Part of our values is to look courageously at our own actions and acknowledge where we can do better.

The College is here to assist all our students in all circumstances. Should you, or a student you know, be experiencing difficulty, please let a staff member know: we will do our utmost to help.

I look forward to working with students, staff and Council to ensure Sancta continues its strong tradition of transformation through education.



Fiona Hastings