Featured News Updated statement on Douglas Steele matter

Media Releases

Tue, 24 Jan 2017

James Cook University is committed to a thorough, independent investigation of the Douglas Steele matter.

Any additional revelations from any source about this matter will be examined as part of that investigation.

As previously stated, the University is in discussion with independent experts to investigate the management of this case, as well as review the University’s policies, procedures and processes for the handling of sexual harassment and assault more generally.

The investigation of the Steele case will include the following:

  • Identify whether the University’s policies and procedures were effectively applied in response to the Steele case.
  • Establish whether at any time over the course of the events there is evidence to suggest that any member of JCU staff acted in a manner that was at variance with JCU’s Code of Conduct, the expectations of their position, or in any other way not in the best interests of the University, their fellow staff members or students. In the event that any member of staff is found to not have acted in accordance with the Code, disciplinary measures will be applied.

The review of the University’s policies, procedures and processes in respect of sexual harassment and sexual assault will include the following:

  • Assess the adequacy of existing provisions within the University to support a culture of respect and safety.
  • Assess the overall adequacy of processes and systems in place to effectively manage sexual harassment and assault.
  • Identify and assess existing internal requirements (through policy, procedure and training) for the disclosure of crimes (of any kind) by staff, both alleged and proven.

JCU accepts full responsibility for serious mistakes that have been made in the handling of the Steele case. The University understands the community’s anger over this matter, and apologises unreservedly for how it has been handled.