By the end of last week, "Changing The Course", the Human Rights Commission's report into sexual assault and harassment on campuses, was teetering on the edge of failure, with multiple criticisms (including those of this writer) of its research methods, and of the lurid publicising of results that suggested that assault/harassment was less common in university settings than among the public at large.
Then in the Sunday Age, Julie Szego propelled the report all the way to the Unsatisfactory Progress Committee and out into the afternoon shift at Gloria Jean’s. Szego, longtime writer from an explicitly feminist angle -- with some sympathy towards wars against Muslim tyranny, and an obsession with Ayaan Hirsi Ali that the AHRC report might have sorted into stalking -- damned the report for blending vastly different categories and throwing in a "stare from a sweaty engineering student on the tram" with everything up to assault to yield big numbers. "What will we do with a report that says there’s less sexual harassment on campus than outside, and half of that’s on the bus?" one pro-vice-chancellor told me this week. "We’ll use out own figures and teach ‘respect’."