By Helena Burke
The ANU Snowsports team was sent home from August’s UniSport Nationals Snow competition early and in disgrace. Alleged incidents involved team members urinating off of a roof and transforming the team’s accommodation into a ‘rave cave’. The incidents have also raised concerns surrounding transparency and ANU Sport’s relationship with student sport groups.
According to a source on the second evening of the UniSport event, 26 August, three ANU Snowsports members were found urinating off the roof of the team’s accommodation. At least one of the students involved was a first year. That same night, the dining hall of the Thredbo accommodation was allegedly transformed into a ‘rave cave’ by Snowsports members. Chairs belonging to the accommodation provider were allegedly damaged as a result.
The following evening ANU Sport informed the Snowsports team that as these incidents had breached the university’s Code of Conduct, the entire team would need to return to ANU. The team returned the next day. Snowsports members say they each lost approximately $370 in accommodation fees due to their premature departure.
Pro Vice Chancellor (University Experience) Anthony Foley has condemned the incidents as the “unacceptable behaviour of a few students” which are “disappointing and don’t represent the values of ANU”. The Acting President of ANU Snowsports conceded the incidents involved “unacceptable behavior [sic]” but stated that Snowsports had dealt with the issues in a “timely and orderly fashion”.
A source has told Observer that at least one of the students involved in the roof urination incident has been banned from participation in a number of ANU Sport activities over the next 12 months.
Some students involved in Snowsports were reportedly disappointed by ANU Sport’s management of the incidents. Sources told Observer that at one point ANU Sport threatened to retract its support for all assessment extensions granted to Snowsports students. This threat allegedly occurred while the team was still in Thredbo, applying to all Snowsports students attending the event. An ANU Sport spokesperson has denied this, however, stating that that students were informed on 27 August that “all academic letters would be honoured”.
Issues of transparency have also arisen. ANU and ANU Sport have chosen to keep the management of these incidents private, and had stated that it was “inappropriate” to provide further comment in light of the fact that formal procedures for the Snowsports incident had not yet been completed. In a statement to Observer, ANU Sport asserts that transparency is “key” to its organization. The Acting President of Snowsports has told the Observer that Snowsports team members were “advised not to talk to any student media… and to refer all inquiries to ANU Sport”.
Observer attempted to attend the Snowsports General Meeting regarding the incident last week, but was denied entry by an ANU Sport representative. The representative informed Observer that the meeting was “closed” and only existing Snowsports members or those with a formal invitation were permitted to attend, or even to observe. Observer was not informed as to how to request or receive a formal invitation. It is unclear whether the representative is a Snowsports member herself, or what her role in this student meeting was to be.
ANU Sport has confirmed that a discussion with the Board will occur this week to determine the future of the Snowsports club’s existence and direction. ANU Sport said once this has occurred, information would be “shared more broadly.”
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