King’s College at the University of Queensland will swing open its doors to women residents in 2020 in a ground-breaking move designed to better reflect contemporary Australian life at the residential campus.
President of the King’s College Council Dr Brett Robinson said the endorsement of a recommendation for the College to become co-residential was a momentous milestone in the all-male institution’s 107-year life at the St Lucia university.
“The Council recognises that, after more than a century as UQ’s premier men’s college, this marks a significant change but, equally, it does not believe King’s College can be contemporary as a male-only campus,” Dr Robinson said.
“This is part of a wider global trend that has seen the transition to co-residency of most, if not all, of the residential colleges in the United Kingdom and the United States and is a fairer representation of Australian society today.
“Rather than losing the rich academic, sporting and cultural traditions that embody King’s College, this move will ensure they continue and allow new ones to develop.”
Master and Chief Executive of King’s College, Mr Greg Eddy said he was delighted by the prospect of welcoming young women to King’s College next year.
“Women have always been welcome at King’s College and are in fact a large part of college life here through academic, cultural and sporting pursuits,” Mr Eddy said.
“The first women to live at King’s College will have a really exciting opportunity to create the same sort of sporting and cultural legacies as the men who have lived here over the past century.
“Women will be housed on separate floors and wings from men and female employees and leaders would be on-site to ensure female residents had access to support and resources from women.”
President of the King’s College Students’ Club Maverick Ryan said the inclusion of women was unlikely to change much in the day to day life of the college.
“Women are here all the time anyway – for social events, to study in our tutoring groups, supporting our music and acting programs,” Mr Ryan said.
“We talk a lot at King’s about the culture we’ve created here through sport and academics and other things, and that’s not going to change because we go from being single sex to co-residential. In fact, it’s the chance for an exciting new chapter for the College.”
Council member and Sarina Russo Group CEO Kathleen Newcombe said men and women lived and worked together in the real world and King’s College needed to reflect this diversity to remain relevant.
“The strength of a community is in its diversity and shared values,” Ms Newcombe said.
“Becoming co-residential enables King’s College to continue to drive those important values in the context of our contemporary way of life.”
King’s College Old Collegians’ Association President Blake Miller said the all-male model produced several generations of men who contributed greatly to Queensland and Australian society.
“As an Old Collegian myself, I know all former and current Kingsmen have treasured memories of their time in the all-male community of King’s and that many forged lifelong friendships,” he said.
“While becoming a co-residential college means a departure from the past, the move will enable King’s to continue to contribute to the growth and development of future generations and that excites me.”
Mr Miller said co-residency allowed King’s to reflect contemporary societal expectations as an integrated community.
“Becoming co-residential will maintain the mission of King’s College to provide the best opportunities for young people at University while allowing another, wider generation of students to experience its vibrant community,” he said.
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