PHOTOS: La Trobe students occupy campus, plan Open Day protest

August 21, 2012

About 200 people rallied against La Trobe University executives’ massive cuts to the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences on August 22. Protesters occupied the Agora at La Trobe’s Bundoora campus in support of a hunger strike against the cuts.

They occupied the campus overnight.

The cuts will result in hundreds of subjects being slashed, entire areas of study being abolished and at least 41 job losses. A mass meeting of staff and students in July passed a resolution demanding all cuts be withdrawn.

Students have also planned to protest at the university’s Open Day on August 26. Vice-Chancellor John Dewar emailed students a “directive” about the protest, threatening them with disciplinary action if they hold or take part in unauthorised demonstrations.

La Trobe student Jess Lenehan said at the August 22 protest: “There's a lot I could talk about today. I could talk about why gender studies is always first on the chopping block and why it's middle aged men doing the chopping. About the complete lack of good faith shown in dealing with staff and the NTEU.

”We have come together from our different groups, courses, institutions and backgrounds with a very simple message. These cuts are not acceptable. This treatment of staff and of students is not acceptable. And we are not afraid of you.”

The La Trobe anti-cuts collective has called on students, staff and supporters to join them in the Open Day protest. It asks supporters to assemble at the Bundoora campus, corner of Kingsbury Drive and Plenty Road, from 10am on August 26 to protest the cuts and Dewar’s threats to restrict student’s freedom of speech.

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