Five Australian National University students who allegedly took images of other students' breasts and rated them on Facebook have been expelled from a Catholic residential college.
In total, 14 male ANU students who were residing at the John XXIII College have been disciplined in relation to the images and comments, which were shared to a group of male students via a Facebook message group.
Two have been suspended from the college from two weeks and another seven placed on "behavioural probation", which includes being excluded from certain events.
All the students can remain studying at the ANU; their sanctions related only to their residential arrangements at the co-ed college, which is on the university grounds. The ANU describes the college as "independent" and "affiliated".
Canberra commentator Melinda Tankard Reist said she believed the incident was another example of entitled "lad culture" and the "equivalent of upskirting".
"Maybe the college needs to have a closer look at why this is happening and revisit the punishment. Two of the boys got two weeks' suspension – what do they do? Go home to mum and dad for a couple of weeks? Sleep on a friend's couch?."
Ms Tankard Reist suggested the ANU should have also meted out some punishment.
"It still sullies the reputation of ANU, I think," she said.
She praised the young man who alerted one of the female students to the images and comments.
"We need to see more like him," she said. "It's a hard thing for guys to not go along with the pack mentality. He chose not to be a bystander but to reveal it. So he deserves commendation."
ANU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington said the university had worked with the college and was "satisfied that the penalties are appropriate".
She said none of the images were of naked breasts but they were nonetheless "clearly inappropriate and represent unacceptable behaviour towards fellow residents".
"ANU believes 'Johns' has taken the appropriate action open to it under its disciplinary processes, and fully supports the penalties handed down to the residents involved," she said.
She said the incident stemmed from a formal dinner at the start of the year when one student created a Facebook group message connecting with other male students.
"The night was filled with eating, drinking and dancing, all documented in an online forum with the sole purpose of judging the 'best mooeys (breasts) on show' for the night," she wrote.
"A month later a close male friend of mine presented to me the series of messages. I read from the top and scrolled down, sifting through pages and pages of disrespectful words, and the close up photos and videos of mine and a few other girls' cleavages, who were conveniently sitting opposite the photographers. Silly us, so ignorantly unaware of who we were sharing our meal with.
"Like mindless sheep following suit, a handful of the men captured and uploaded images of my body. Seasoned with comments of sexist slurs, that included proposals of raping me – all the while I cheerfully sat opposite them."
It is not the first time the college has been in strife. In 2011, two students were expelled from John XXIII for putting dead feral pigs in dorm rooms and on cars.
John XXIII head Geoff Johnston, said the college obtained a hard-copy of the Facebook message trail to help whittle down the offenders.
Mr Johnston said the behaviour was "totally unacceptable" but young people still made mistakes.
"You've got young people coming out of school and put in an environment where they are treated as adults and sometimes they will do stupid things and in this particular case they did something that was totally unacceptable and we acted on it," he said.
The incident happened in March. Mr Johnston said fewer than five female students were affected and all remained at the college, which was committed to helping them in whatever way they needed.
Mr Johnston said he could assure women, especially young women, they could be safe in the college.
"Let me put it this way, I think there's a couple of positives that came out of this and one is that quite a few boys objected to what had happened and when they found out about it, they are the ones who went to the girls and said, 'Are you aware of this?'," he said.
"So there was a lot of proactive action by boys saying this is just not acceptable behaviour and there's been a lot of support to those girls as they then came forward to make a complaint.
"That to me shows we are dealing with a small, little group. Sexism is an issue in colleges throughout Australia, throughout the world, but there's a limit to what you talk to people about, discuss with people about. At times you, suspend people or, in this particular case, you expel them."
The victim who wrote the article felt she had the full support of the college administration and the punishment was "swift". But she still felt "heartbroken and furious".
"These men need to recognise that all the women they reside with are their equals, not objects," she wrote.