QUT sets police on students

July 21, 2007

On July 18, six students were arrested on the Garden's Point campus of the Queensland University of Technology when 20 police brutally attacked a peaceful protest outside the University Council, which was meeting to pass the final decision to shut down QUT's humanities and human services faculty.

Police applied choke holds to a number of students; one student was choked then punched in the chest by a police officer who refused repeated requests to display her badge number. The other officers present refused to identify the officer in charge.

The council meeting was held during semester break, a tactic aimed at minimising student protest action against a decision that will make QUT little more that a technical college.

QUT, which markets itself as the "university for the real world", has also launched an attack on the free speech of academics Dr Gary MacLennan and Dr John Hookham for publicly criticising QUT's approval of a PhD documentary film entitled Laughing at the Disabled.

QUT is allegedly spending $12,000 per day hiring Queensland Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff in a private capacity to mount a court case defending its attack on the academics.

Universities across the country have for many years been cutting back their humanities courses. By killing off the humanities faculty altogether, QUT is setting a precedent that others will likely follow.

Students, staff, community supporters and disability advocates will assemble on QUT's open day on July 29 to protest the attacks on academic freedom and the university's humanities courses.

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