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A Cardinal Sin: Lot’s Wife Torn to Shreds at Mannix

Lot’s Wife is the official student magazine of Monash Clayton. It is a free publication that volunteers commit hours and hours to every week, so that we can provide news to the Monash community, and showcase the voices of our fellow students throughout the year. As an Editor of Lot’s Wife, I am immensely proud of what our community has achieved this year, and I have given this magazine nothing short of my entire heart and soul. While holding a public position means that you open yourself up to negative feedback from time to time, that is something that I have expected, and been accepting of. However, I saw a post on Instagram recently that was more than just the expected negative feedback. I saw something that was really, truly hurtful.

On Saturday the 7th of October, Monash student Jan Morgiewicz uploaded a photo of himself on Instagram, lying in a pile of shredded up copies of Lot’s Wife at Mannix College, the Catholic residential college for Monash students. The following day he uploaded another photo of more destroyed copies of Lot’s Wife, this time with a whole group of Mannix students present. Jan was a Committee Member of the Mannix Student Society this year, and has just been elected as President of the Mannix Student Society for next year.

On Friday the 13th of October, it was then brought to my attention that the cover of latest edition of the The Pigeon was a photo of Jan and Jack Johnston, another Mannix resident, lying in a pile of Edition 3 and 4 of Lot’s Wife.

Lot’s Wife Magazine is funded by the Monash Student Association (MSA), which is in turn funded by a small portion of the Student Services and Amenities Fee that students pay.

These magazines cost about $3 per copy to print.

As a Lot’s Wife Editor, it broke my heart to see the hard work we have poured into those magazines shredded up on the floor. The photos featured many torn up copies of the Feminist Edition, which was made in collaboration with the MSA Women’s Department. Both Lot’s Wife and the MSA Women’s Department funded this issue of our magazine. When these students decided to take so many copies and tear it all up, I immediately thought to myself that it wasn’t just any student money going down the drain, it was money directly aimed at women. Ripping up all those copies of a publication that advocated and provided a voice for women felt like a huge slap in the face for women at Monash, especially as the publication was made in light of the recent Australian Human Rights Commission enquiry into sexual assault on campus.

Jan is a vocal supporter of ‘Together’ – a new clubs-orientated ticket that has just been elected onto the Monash Student Association, and has a profile picture on Facebook with the frame “I’m voting Together”.

The group photo on Instagram contained multiple Residential Advisors (RAs) and elected Committee Members from the Mannix Student Society. One of them, Henry Fox, is the 2017 Mannix Student Society Vice President. He has just been elected as the MSA Activities Officer under the Together ticket, a position which involves management of a large allocated figure of student money.

Coincidentally, this incident occurred shortly after Melis Layik’s story about Mannix College went viral. In Semester 1, Melis lived at Mannix and was targeted by bullies for being a vegan. People at Mannix snuck into her room at night and threw offal at her while she was asleep. A horse heart was left outside her door and chicken mince was smeared onto her window. When Melis complained to Mannix about the incident that made international news, she was simply informed that they had undertaken meetings with the perpetrator and that the matter had ‘been resolved’. As Mannix College exist independently to the university and are not run by Monash Residential Services, they do not have to comply with the standards of behaviour the university sets for Halls of Residence students. A student from Mannix told us that it was full of cliques and was ‘a lot like high school’. Based on this description, the American ‘frat culture’ came to mind.

A Halls of Residence student told us that she is often disappointed by the behavior of Mannix students and the ‘toxic culture’ many seem to express when going to Dooley’s Irish Bar, the nearby venue they often attend on Wednesday nights. She also mentioned that students from Mannix call them “Halls rats”.

We have contacted Mannix about the incident and are also yet to receive an apology from the students involved. What we do know however is that with a tight print budget that has now been completely used up, we will never be able to get those precious copies of our beloved student magazine back.

Sophia McNamara

The author Sophia McNamara

3 Comments

  1. I went to Mannix years ago.
    While I met some great people there, I also put up with a lot of bullshit.
    It’s this weird cult like environment. You live in a bubble with the same 250 people and it’s so detached from the outside world. It’s like Mannix has it’s own set of rules.

    The committee is royalty. They held so much influence over everyone that lived there.
    The culture was toxic. People got so hung up over who was on committee or not. I saw people break down over missing a place on committee or as an RA. It was fucked.

    Alcoholism was encouraged, however that was more so the peer environment rather than the committee’s doing.
    When the executive positions were elected it was encouraged for members to consume a whole bottle of vodka.
    The year I was there multiple people had to be taken to hospital.

    There were definitely cliques when I was there. And people competed so hard to get attention from the student body, attention from the committee members. We had to do so much degrading shit when I was a fresher. I hope that it’s changed since then.

    People are proud to go to Mannix, which is fine I think when you celebrated many of the good things that so many their stood for – community, friendship, supporting others. But there was also a lot of superiority – “halls rats” was a common phrase.
    There’s so many private schooled rich children there it’s no surprise really that there were so many elitist mindsets all over the place.

    It really hurts me to see these multiple horrible things in the media of late.
    Mannix had so many good things and was a big part of my life.
    At the same time though, this doesn’t surprise me.
    There were always issues, but it seems that they’ve grown over time and that the place I used to call my home has changed for the worse.

  2. Ripping up people’s hard work is never okay and is disrespectful. Many hours went into these editions and having read them myself, the articles were enlightening and well-presented. It was highly disrespectful for these students to do this for a joke, and short-sighted to then post it on social media.

    That being said, I do also disagree with the way this has been handled. To name-and-shame multiple students from the university in a Monash magazine, and on a public website, I would suspect is, or comes incredibly close, to slander. Especially when making unsubstantiated claims about the motive.

    Sharing full names, faces, nakedness, place of residence, roles on various committees, and even social media handles seems too far for a student magazine and I am personally not happy that my fees are funding “revenge articles” such as this. Although the posts were obviously enraging, they were published to a private Instagram account and a supposedly private Mannix publication. For LW to then share these publicly without censoring or consent to the entire University, and the general public, I would’ve thought is unethical. There would most definitely have been a way to write this article and get the point across without crossing these lines.

    I understand that articles about Mannix kids behaving badly makes great clickbait, and the publication is rightfully upset about what has happened, but as a student of Monash, I question if this was a justified and professional response from our student magazine. As a student publication paid by Monash student fees, is it really acceptable to publicly speculate, defame, and share personal details about our own students? I would hope not.

  3. Mia has it spot on. Ad hominem attacks are uncalled for – how is Mr Morgiewicz’s political allegiance relevant?
    Ultimately, I feel that the event was more likely a poor-taste joke rather than a direct attack on Lot’s Wife. Maybe trying to spark some rivalry between the two magazines?

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