La Trobe students defend campus occupation

August 22, 2012
Students began their occupation of La Trobe university's 'Agora' on August 22. Photo: Chris Peterson

Occupy La Trobe, formed by La Trobe University students to fight cuts proposed to the Faculty of Humanities and Social Services (HUSS), published the statement below from the Stop the HUSS Cuts Collective on August 23.

* * *

We the Stop the HUSS Cuts collective have peaceably occupied the central Agora area of the university in protest of the cuts to the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, which set a dangerous precedent for all faculties within and outside this university.

Through this occupation we are also protesting the attacks on our freedom of speech and rights to protest by the university administration, and the threats of exclusion that we have been subjected to for exercising our rights to peaceful assembly. We do not intend to cause disruption or undue inconvenience to anyone, and have and will continue to occupy this space in a peaceful, open and honest manner.

We have occupied the Agora area as a symbolic place for assembly, as it represents not only the heart of the university (which these cuts threaten to rip out) but also a public space for the discussion of ideas and debate, which we value so highly. The threats from the university attempt to stifle our discussion and debate, and we will not stand for such silencing.

We openly invite all students, staff and anyone interested to come and speak with us about the cuts, or any other matter. This is an open occupation and all are welcome.

In peaceful protest,
The Stop the HUSS Cuts collective.


I am an Arts student, and I am all for peaceful protests, but these protests have not been peaceful, or even particularly coherent. Some of the protesters have been spitting on the security guards and staff. Now, this can be more dangerous than you'd think because there are diseases that you can contracts from getting spit in your eye. The spitting does not show up on the grainy films that the students proudly post online, but it happens none the less. Then there is the chasing of staff members, breaking into their offices and making people feel generally under attack. Not peaceful at all- looks like they should read some Gandhi. But I really feel the protesters should be held to account for turning the centre of the university campus into a makeshift graveyard. I know for a fact that they have had numerous complaints from students who have been recently bereaved (myself included) asking them to at least put the gravestones somewhere else. They have been too COWARDLY to respond to any of these comments, and then they complain that they get inadequate communication from staff members.I know of someone who just had a still born child who was confronted by gravestones being shoved in her face. This is just disgusting! Time to grow up!

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