ANU expels pro-Palestinian student, encampment continues

June 6, 2024
Construction, Mining, Forestry and Energy Union members show support to the ANU student encampment on May 31. Photo: CFMEU ACT/Facebook

The Australian National University expelled student Beatrice Tucker on June 5 for their pro-Palestine comments on ABC Radio.

It comes a week after ANU management called police to try and move the student encampment.

A protest letter by Students and Staff Against War ANU condemning disciplinary action against Tucker has garnered more than 500 signatures and more than 50 staff signatures.

Hundreds attended a National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) rally on May 16 after the ANU told seven students to leave the camp. Hundreds prevented police from arresting encampment students on May 27.

ABC Radio host Ross Solly asked student encampment participants repeatedly on April 30 whether they condemn Hamas.

Tucker responded by affirming: “Hamas deserves our unconditional support … Not because I agree with their strategy, [I’m in] complete disagreement with that.” 

Tucker was then targeted by The Australian and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry who demanded the university expel Tucker for allegedly supporting “terrorism”.

“ANU has taken an unprecedented and dangerous step in smothering free speech on campus,” said Finnian Colwell, a member of Students and Staff Against War ANU.

“The ANU would rather punish students for repeating what they have learnt in its international law courses, that armed resistance is a legal human right for oppressed nationalities, than divest from over $1 million invested in eight arms companies with links to Israel,” Colwell said.

Colwell said while the International Criminal Court has requested arrest warrants for Israeli leaders over war crimes and the International Court of Justice says there is a plausible case Israel is committing genocide, the ANU goes after students who speak up for Palestine’s right to self-determination.

“ANU is complicit in genocide,” Colwell said, adding the disciplinary action against students must be dropped. The university’s ties to its Northrop Grumman internship and exchange program with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem must also be cut.

Elise Chua, another member of Students and Staff Against War ANU, said the ANU has continued to buy shares in arms companies since October 7. “[ANU management] foresees that they’ll be able to increase their portfolio if they choose to fund and invest in genocide.

“That’s what’s shameful here, not a student expressing their political opinion.”

[Students and Staff Against War ANU is organising a rally on June 7 at 2pm outside the ANU Chancellory.]

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