Alexander Pagonis ousted as President of Newington College union amid co-ed debate

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President of Newington College’s alumni union, Alexander Pagonis, has been voted out of his position amid the continuing debate over the school’s decision to admit girls.

Newington, a $40,000-per-year private boys school in Sydney’s inner west, plans to gradually transition to co-education by 2033, starting with allowing girls to enrol into the junior school by 2026.

The move to oust Pagonis comes after almost 800 former Newington College students convened for a special general meeting of the Old Newingtonians’ Union (ONU) on Wednesday, March 27 in Sydney. Alumni flew in from across the country to voice their concerns about the co-ed move, vote on several resolutions and request that the decision becomes overturned.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that many attendees expressed their frustration at the meeting over the registration of girls at the school, and despite attempts to challenge the proposed resolutions, all five were eventually voted on. 

Newington college has announced it will transition to being co-educational, prompting furious opposition from some parents and former students. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP
Newington college has announced it will transition to being co-educational, prompting furious opposition from some parents and former students. Photo: Bianca de Marchi/AAP.

The men voted in favour of all five of the resolutions put to the group, in each case by a very slim margin of 51-52% for and 48-49% opposed.

According to The Guardian, the vote does not impede on the school’s progress toward becoming co-educational, as determined by the school council, which is separate from the ONU council, an alumni network.

Outgoing president, Mr Pagonis wrote to alumni on Thursday afternoon saying he found it “unfortunate that one issue has managed to divide our membership.”

Source: The Guardian and The Sydney Morning Herald

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