At least 120 Canberra-based university students were sexually assaulted and almost 1000 sexually harassed including on campus or in residential colleges within the past two years.
The vast majority of sexual assault survivors were from the Australian National University, where 116 students reported being sexually assaulted in 2016.Almost half of those assaults were reported to have happened on campus.
About five students reported being sexually assaulted at the University of Canberra.
Four-hundred-and-sixty University of Canberra students and 1477 ANU students responded to the Human Rights Commission's survey into sexual assault in university communities.
ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt - on Tuesday visibly upset by the findings - apologised to students, staff and alumni who had been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted on the university's campus. He further apologised to survivors who had been let down by the institution.
Residential colleges were put on notice with Professor Schmidt warning that affiliated colleges who opted out of an upcoming review could face having their affiliation revoked.
The commission's sector-wide report, Change the Course, detailed hazing rituals including a "run the gauntlet" challenge, in which female students would run down a corridor lined with male residents who had cask wine in their trousers. Women were expected to kneel before the men and "drink from [their] sack".
Another unidentified college held an annual event where first-year female residents were force-fed alcohol, told to remove their tops and serve drinks to older male college residents while being subjected to derogatory comments and chants.
"What we have seen today is unacceptable for any college on this campus and we need to hold ourselves - every part of this university - up to external scrutiny so we are better," Professor Schmidt said.
"No one is above the behaviours we are seeing here. Everyone must be accountable."
More than one in three ANU students and about a quarter of University of Canberra students reported being sexually harassed at their university.
The vast majority of students at both institutions reported fellow students as the perpetrator of the most recent incident of sexual harassment.
Nine per cent of incidents at the University of Canberra and 11 per cent of incidents at ANU involved university staff.
The ANU committed to implementing each of the nine recommendations in the Human Rights Commission's report. University of Canberra vice-chancellor Deep Saini said his institution would "digest" the findings in the coming weeks to assess the next steps taken.
"I'm committed to working with our staff and student representatives to address the challenge of sexual harassment and assault at our institution and ensure that our university is a safe, respectful and supportive environment for all," Professor Saini said.
The Human Rights Commission survey of about 31,000 students, released Tuesday, found 2100 students or 6.9 per cent had been sexually assaulted during the past two years, while more than half of all university students were sexually harassed in 2016, with 21 per cent of those in a university setting.
Recommendations included that universities develop a plan for addressing the drivers of sexual assault and harassment, that universities ensure information is collected and stored confidentially with vice-chancellors to receive regular reports on the data, and that universities commission an expert-led review on behaviours in residential colleges.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on 02 6247 2525. Nationally, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732. In an emergency contact 000.
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