A commitment to improving the safety and wellbeing of on-campus students has led to the University of New England deciding to ban sponsorship of its sporting clubs and residential colleges by alcohol suppliers and licenced venues.
There are important reasons for UNE making this move, effective 1 January 2019:
- Alcohol has been found to be a factor in the majority of sexual assault and harassment cases at UNE in the last two calendar years.
- The University wants to remove any obligation on students and staff to consume alcohol as a result of sponsorship agreements.
- UNE supports and promotes a healthy lifestyle for its students. Alcohol sponsorship, particularly of sporting teams, is not consistent with this objective.
UNE Vice-Chancellor, Professor Annabelle Duncan, acknowledged that some licenced venues in Armidale have had long-standing relationships with some of UNE’s clubs and colleges.
“In making this decision, we focused on what was in the best interest of our students,” Prof. Duncan said.
“Alcohol-based sponsorships of student entities do not support our efforts to provide a safe and inclusive campus. The University has concluded that it needs to remove any contractual links between sponsorships and student alcohol consumption.”
To ensure clubs and colleges are not financially disadvantaged by this decision, UNE has established a Sport & Culture Fund, which will enable student entities affected by the move to source alternative funds.
This decision has been made as part of UNE’s ongoing commitment to the safety and wellbeing of its on-campus students. The University is awaiting additional advice on this area from the College Audit report conducted earlier this year by the Australian Human Rights Commission. The report is due by the end of 2018.