Open letter from Student leaders – May 29, 2015

May 28, 2015

To all members of the broader St Patrick’s College and Ballarat communities, and especially to the many victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

As a student body we are well aware of the events currently unfolding in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse being heard in Ballarat. The details revealed in the hearing are simply unfathomable to the students of today. We are hearing of heinous and disgusting crimes to which nobody should ever have been subjected. We offer our deepest sympathies for the truly reprehensible actions that have faced past students at the hands of those who had been trusted. It is truly impossible for us to fully comprehend the pain and grief that has fallen upon these individuals, and their siblings, peers, families and the broader community. These crimes are something that should never be denied or excused.-

Many boys have tied a ribbon onto the gates of this College to offer support, prayers and thoughts for the victims. It is a small gesture which says much. It says the current student community at St Patrick’s College is offering our deepest sympathies and assuring the broader community that the College, as it stands now, is an institution that is acknowledging and apologising for its past, but also hoping to assist in the healing process and then building from that.-

Now, in 2015, we want to let you know that we believe this school is a fine educational institution, and we as the student body relish in the opportunities it presents. We are grateful and appreciative for the school we have now. It is a school that is proud of its diversity. There is diversity in its student body, in its approach to teaching, and in its approach to the welfare of all. We, the boys of St Patrick’s College, are proud to be part of the continuing tradition that exists. This is a school that, in 2015, cares for each and every boy that passes through the front gates. The school offers care in everything from academic performance, to social justice, sporting achievements and music and performing arts. An environment is created at this school that builds pride and dignity.

There are many issues and injustices that exist within society today. The ones we have referred to are so close and so personal to all of us. But we strongly feel that they need to be confronted and discussed. By doing so it ensures we will continue to exist in an environment that is safe for students, staff and for the community in which we live.

Yours sincerely,

Kelsey Gannon (College Captain)

James McKinnon (College Vice-Captain)

Jacob Hopper (College Vice-Captain)

The College Council of 2015 and the College Congress of 2015 on behalf of the Student Body.