Peninsula Representative & MPA Women's Officer

Jeane Freer

Portfolio

The Peninsula Campus Representative initiates campus-based activities, identifies issues pertaining specifically to their campus and ensures the interests of Peninsula–based postgraduates are represented at the MPAEC and within the broader university. 

Click here for the Peninsula Campus Representative’s full position description.

The Women’s Officer liaises with relevant groups and individuals to identify issues pertaining to women postgraduates, and ensures the interests of this cohort are represented at the MPAEC and within the broader university. 

Click here for the Women’s Officer’s full position description.

Background

Jeanne Freer is a teacher and counsellor who has worked with educators and meditators in the UK, the US, France and Australia. Named Dhammavada in 2007, Jeanne incorporates Buddhist principles in her work, intending to help others attain their fullest potential. Currently teaching at Monash University, Jeanne is also researching the cognitive and affective processes of resilient older women.

Reports by Jeane Freer

Date: Wednesday, 1 November 2017
Re: Peninsula Campus Representative November Report

The last constituent surgery of the year was held in October. We brainstormed how to bring more post-graduates on to campus. The primary focus is on better communication - how to let you know what is happening, when and where. We will continue to make use of all of the available hard copy and electronic notice boards. If you are aware of a notice board in your area that does not receive MPA posters, please let me know. We will be having our next surgery in March of 2018, and notices of this event will be posted around campus and noted in the MPA online calendars.

We also discussed the post-graduate preference for organising meetings around a meal, and the continuing difficulty of doing so on this campus. While the SeaHorse Tarvern is now open, it is primarily a drinking and gaming centre, as is so much of Frankston, and not a place to have a thoughtful research meeting over a tasteful and healthy meal. The issue has been raised again with the campus administration, and they are aware of the challenge. The primary difficulty at the moment is the small 'customer base' on the Peninsula campus. This may change soon, with the arrival of transfer students from the closing Berwick campus. In addition, there was a 30% increase in Open Day participation at Peninsula, possibly due to the ability of our beautiful campus to advertise as a destination of choice for study, rather than just as another Monash satellite.

For those of us who appreciate the ecological benefits of our beautiful surroundings on this campus, I urge you to let the Monash administration, both locally and centrally, know how much you value the natural environment in which we operate. Expansion and improved communication plans include more electronic screens and broadcasting sound systems in some of our green areas, currently natural peaceful environments for reflection and deeper intellectual work, as well as sharing a picnic with friends, doing yoga, or playing frisbee.

The energy for this campus is picking up, and with this will come both benefits and challenges. I will continue to represent you at Campus Experience Meetings as well as at MPA and other groups, and I continue to invite you to let me know what points you would like me to put forward. I look forward to a rewarding 2018.

Date: Monday, 2 October 2017
Re: Peninsula Campus Representative October Report

I am pleased to report that The George café is now offering gluten free sweet biscuits (“cookies”). These delicious offerings are produced by Priestley’s Gourmet Delights in Queensland. Do try these wonderful eats, found in the basket on the counter at The George, the next time you are ordering tea or coffee. This will also signal to the café owner that we really appreciate the provision of gluten-free options.

The indefatigable Sue Wilson is now creating an academic reading group for Monash HDR/ECR’s and the first meeting is here at Peninsula Campus, Monday 2 October at 11am in A2.34. Healthy snacks will be provided. Virtual attendees are able to participate in this technologically enabled room. You are invited to bring something you have been reading and comment on it for one minute, which will “be an element of each month’s discussion” according to Sue. There will also be a main text to read and discuss each month. For more details and to find out about subsequent meetings, contact Sue directly at sue.wilson@monash.edu

MPA has endorsed a ‘yes’ response to the Marriage Equality survey and I would like to encourage you all to respond to the survey. It is so important that we let people everywhere know that Australia respects love, and understands that marriage is a private agreement between two individuals who desire to formalise and celebrate their commitment to one another.

The next coffee morning / afternoon tea event, when we can get together for a chat, is Thursday 12 October. Look out for the posters around campus and check the events calendars on the MPA site. Unfortunately, due to the ‘fashion upgrade’ of the BusEco building, they no longer have any bulletin boards available, so you will have to be a bit more pro-active in informing yourself about our get-togethers. I hope this will not put you off and that I will have a chance to spend some time with you on the 12th. This will be the last get-together this year. The next one will be in March 2018, so do take advantage of this opportunity.

Date: Friday, 1 September 2017
Re: Peninsula Campus Representative September Report

Shut up and Write will no longer be meeting at Straun House. The MPA Campus Development Officer has asked the library to offer this group at Clayton. Shut up and Write at Straun has been both a research support and a networking hub for postgraduates, especially HDR's, for a number of years, and it will be sorely missed. Let's give a big 'shout out' to Sue Wilson for her commitment of time, energy and personal resources to the Shut up and Write project. We hope that Sue can find a new focus for her service efforts soon, and look forward to supporting her. In the meantime, you might want to contact the Learning Skills librarian in the campus library, who will now be providing all writing support, in conjunction with English Connect.

The first 'constituent surgeries' were held in August, to hear what you want and need on the Peninsula campus. The next one is scheduled for October. Check the events calendar on this website or look out for the posters announcing the events, which will be in MPA colours so they should be easier to spot among all the fliers posted around. Coffee, tea and cakes can be had, so do come by and say hello. I look forward to meeting you

Date: Monday, 7 August 2017
Re: Peninsula Campus Representative August Report

The most exciting development has been the in-principle agreement to publish a non-confidential version of the monthly campus report which will help all Peninsula campus post-grads to keep up-to-date with campus developments. When these reports are available, an announcement will be put on the MPA Facebook page and the Peninsula campus screen in The George. Be sure to look out for these and follow the links to the report. If there are any difficulties with locating the report, please let me know so that we can get all links working smoothly.

I have scheduled the first of what I hope will be regular constituent surgeries for Thursday 24 August. Morning coffee will be in The George form 9:30 - 10:30 and afternoon tea will be in the Upperdeck Cafe from 3:30 - 4:30 (15:30-16:30). I will have some sort of MPA banner with me, so it will be easy to find me. Do come along, have a free cuppa, and let me know what you want and need our campus.

I continue to liaise with various campus and university administrators to bring improvements to both campus transport and food options. Both of these endeavours have a "long horizon" and I hope hear from you about your preferences so that I can convey these.

Re: Women's Officer August Report

As you are no doubt aware, the SASH Report (the national student survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission [AHRC] for 39 Australian universities) has now been released.

There is some controversy on the way statistics have been reported and MPA CAPA representatives are considering making an appeal to the AHRC to re-visit their data and reissue some of the statistics to more clearly identify incidents of sexual assault, according to Victorian definitions. I should have more to report on this by next month.

There is also some controversy on who gets the credit, with some stakeholders asserting that universities are claiming credit for work that student organisations have done. Regardless of who deserves the most acknowledgement, this is an important survey, the first of its scope internationally. And perhaps the most important short term outcome is the 10 point action plan that all 39 universities have signed up to. You can find this action plan if you click on the "Respect. Now. Always." tile that now appears on your Monash home page.

Your contribution to change will be to be one of the many holding the university to account for following through on these ten points. Our Vice Chancellor Margaret Gardner is very committed to this plan for Monash, so this will hopefully be a win-win-win for all university stakeholders.

Date: Tuesday, 1 August 2017
Re: The AHRC Report on sexual assault and sexual harassment.

The SASH Report (Sexual assault and Sexual Harassment Report) was released today and explained to a small but concerned group of students, professional staff and faculty (including deans) by Deputy Vice Chancellot Education Susan Elliott, Pro Vice Chancellor David Copolov and Executive Director Campus Community Division Vladimi Prpich. Chief Operating Officer Peter Marshall was also in attendance.

As can be expected from such an extensive national survey, it has both strengths and weaknesses. Its primary strength is in providing statistical validation for what students have known anecdotally for years. Students experience sexual harassment and sexual abuse and most students have no clear idea of where to report such instances and little confidence in the structures of the university to provide assistance, support or restoratve justice.

The corollary benefit of having these distressing metrics is the clearly stated commitment of Monash to improve the situation. Monash has signed on to the 10 recommendations for universities nation-wide. I urge you to visit the website to make yourself aware of these and to make efforts, over the long term, to hold Monash to its promise to implement these. A very positive start would thus be made.

Going forward we can hope that "unwelcome touching, hugging, cornering, or kissing" will be moved from the category of sexual harassment to that of sexual assault, which is how most victims/survivors experience such events. To have the definition of "sexual assault" restricted to acts of penetration seems very "old school" and is disappointing and somewhat disheartening when one contemplates what improvements might actually follow from this report.

Nonetheless the commitment to creating a culture change is to be applauded and supported. 5% of the Australian population are university students and education is the third most significant aspect of the national GDP. So a university-supported culture change to an environment of greater sexual safety would be most welcome.

View the AHRC Report

View the 10-point Action Plan unveiled by Universities Australia to prevent and address sexual assault and sexual harassment

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Jeanne Freer

Contact details

e: MPA-EC-Peninsula@monash.edu

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