St Johns College

What is it about sandstone that brings out the worst in 19-year-old future bankers, lawyers and captains of industry? Is it the architecture? Perhaps gothic gables bring out gothic tendencies.

A Sydney University student in more progressive times…

With the exception of a slightly awkward-looking Tony Abbott (you can take the boy out of John’s…), the reaction to the latest revelations about the piglets inhabiting St John’s College at the University of Sydney, has been total condemnation. The rest of us understand, without having to have it explained to us, that what’s been going on there is bad.

But no one has been able to pin down the root cause of this particularly ugly brand of born-to-rule misogyny. Sure, the college administration has been woefully inadequate in dealing with the escalating PR disaster, and it seems equally unable, or unwilling, to rein in the young men who appear to have staged a coup.

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  • Positive Education says:

    06:39pm | 08/11/12

    The masses jump onto the bandwagon when they know nothing about this place. It doesn’t sound much different to the uni college I went to in the 1980’s in Brisbane. Looks like these guys have gone that little bit too far. You can put that down to a lack of… Read more »

  • El says:

    06:06pm | 08/11/12

    The Leftist/ Marxist /Feminist education/ culture has now really sunk in, thats why this latest generation is totally out of control, and there is now even less discipline than ever. Lets not forget in the early 90s there was still the odd cane in school, now there is too much… Read more »


Humanity is facing a crisis of moral leadership - men and women of character who can choose wisely and well in the difficulties, dilemmas and complexity of contemporary business and government.

St John's College at the University of Sydney… a nursery for boofheads since 1857

One of the biggest risks we face today is an assumption that because people share or subscribe to our corporate values, that they in fact share our moral perspective. Enron, LIBOR, AWB, unanswered questions at Note Printers Australia, and any number of examples would indicate immediately that is not the case.

The public travails of St John’s College and its students throw into stark relief the need to ask questions of potential employees to gain an insight about their moral outlook. It would be foolish of any organisation to assume that academic prowess equates with sound character.

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  • Thomas says:

    06:59pm | 07/11/12

    You’re ignorant, misinformed and irrational. You’ve spent too much time reading eamonn duff I think -  generalization, sensationalism and exaggeration; Duff written all over it. And you both claim moral authority? You cannot claim knowing one current student first hand, so your opinions are forged through fairfax. Do you know… Read more »

  • Two Cents worth says:

    06:15pm | 07/11/12

    @ Borderer - couldn’t agree more with most of what you say, unfortunately in this modern world we call stealing by another name, excessive profit, gained through “vastly inflated prices” and while it is not against the law it is most certainly unconscionable. Look at where our efforts to gain… Read more »


I went to Sydney Uni, fell in love with a girl who attended one of the residential colleges and married her 10 years later. Our courtship didn’t start smoothly. One night, just as things began to get steamy for the first time, a vomit competition started up in the hallway outside her room.

A pool of vomit guards the sandstone citadel of St John's College, where no morals can get in or out

Yes, a vomit competition. On the hallway carpet. A projectile vomit competition, to be precise. Don’t ask me how the contest worked. Maybe it was a distance thing. Maybe it had something to do with the ratio of carrot chunks. Either way, those competitive vomiters embodied (or should that be disembodied?) everything that is wrong with the old communal colleges in the sandstone universities.

This week, Sydney Archbishop George Pell announced he would step in and try to fix the ongoing mess at Sydney Uni’s St John’s College. His intervention comes after years of shameful incidents, including the near-death of a female student after an initiation ritual gone wrong. It’s a good move by Pell, but I’ve got a better one. Disband the colleges altogether.

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  • chris says:

    06:41pm | 05/11/12

    When I was part of the women’s collective at sydney uni in the 70’s we were contacted by some women students who were studying at Wagga.  They wanted some support from city women in the face of some particularly nasty and sexist behaviour on campus.  When we got there we… Read more »

  • Steve says:

    06:39pm | 05/11/12

    I have worked as a security guard at Sydney Uni between 2005 - 2009. What I saw at these colleges would go beyond any description of indecency, violation, cruelty, vulgarism & I don’t believe there is a word in the dictionary yet to describe the behaviour of some of the… Read more »


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