Sex-related hazing uncovered in student magazine at St Mark’s College

Words by Connie Tran

An investigation conducted by news.com.au has recently unearthed a magazine glamourising sexual activities as a part of an initiation ritual amongst students at St Mark’s College, a residential college affiliated with the University of Adelaide.

The student-published magazine, titled O’Mag, is intended as an “unofficial guide” to initiate first-year students into student culture. The magazine (first published in 2013) is extremely crude in nature, and encourages the hazing of first-year students in a sexual manner.

Contents of the magazine include encouraging freshmen to seek out notable seniors for sexual activities. “Points” are allocated for varying stages of sexual acts performed with each senior. The number of points accumulated is used elevate to the social status of freshmen amongst their peers.

President of the Student Representative Council (SRC), Matthew Boughey, stated that the magazine is reflective of the elitist culture that St Mark’s College is informally known for.

“I would describe St Mark’s as an elite institution with many ties among elite private schools around South Australia. If you put a lot of people with entitlement together, and people don’t know when to stop — things like this happen.”

Much of the magazine is written in an extremely explicit and derogatory manner, with clear sexist and misogynistic undertones. Written pieces alluding to violence and rape towards women are also included.

SRC Women’s Officer, Olivia Savvas described the content as “not just distressing”, but also “harrowing” and “clearly indicative of rape culture, not just at St Mark’s but at colleges in general.”

“It is my understanding that these manuals are not uncommon and sex often plays a significant role in ritual hazings and initiations. First year students are impressionable, and would learn just as much from the actions of their peers as they would from the University itself,” said Savvas.

Both Savvas and Boughey agree that the action taken so far has been ineffective at best.

“I think they [St Mark’s] need to come out and say that this isn’t good enough and apologise. I find it very hard to believe they didn’t know about this, and that it was allowed to be published. I would like to see some action taken,” said Boughey.

“The fact that it has only surfaced now despite the magazine’s conception in 2013 means that it might have been swept under the rug.”

Savvas also agreed, stating that “St Mark’s is culpable where they failed to alert the University, particularly in suggesting that the life of a student at the College is somehow removed from the life of that same student on campus.”

Boughey strongly condemned the students directly involved with the publication, describing them as “degenerates” who are “scraping the absolute bottom of the barrel”.

“To think that this sort of behaviour is acceptable… I would tell these people to seriously take a look at their behaviour if they think this is good enough.”

Written by

Adelaide University student magazine since 1932. Edited by Nicholas Birchall, Felix Eldridge, Taylor Fernandez and Larisa Forgac. Email us at onditmag@gmail.com

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