Drama students pulled from 'intensive workshop' as harassment investigated

Postponed: workshop.
Postponed: workshop.

Federation University has postponed a workshop it holds annually with Sovereign Hill.

The Courier has sighted an email from university Executive Dean John McDonald delivered to performing arts students last week. It reads: ‘We wish to advise that the week-long workshop at Camp Street and Sovereign Hill scheduled to take place next week has been postponed until further notice.’

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Federation University confirmed it had postponed their ‘planned intensive workshop’ in a single line release to The Courier.

A source within the university also emailed The Courier, saying there was support from staff for the action taken by the executive.

“From the people I've talked to, they think it's great to see the Uni take a stand against this, especially with the university-wide campaign to stamp out sexual harassment,” the source wrote.

Sovereign Hill issued the following statement: ‘Last week Sovereign Hill received notification from Federation University that the annual Professional Practice Intensive is to be postponed, so as not to distract final year students from the focus required to complete an integral stage in their education. The two organisations continue to benefit from a long-running partnership.’

The cancellation follows revelations of Victoria Police investigating allegations of sexual assault by a male staff member at the popular tourist destination. The Sovereign Hill Museums Association board has also ordered a new investigation of its own into the allegations, saying evidence which had not been presented to them previously had been brought to light by The Courier’s interviews.

A number of current and former Sovereign Hill have spoken to The Courier alleging improper and harassing behaviours by more than one member of staff over a period of more than 15 years. Sovereign Hill has issued a statement stating it will ‘conduct a review of the organisation’s harassment and discrimination policies and procedures’.