Dear La Trobe student, Protest is baaad. Get it?

Update : ‘Students from the “Stop the HUSS Cuts Collective” have voted to occupy the La Trobe University campus in Bundoora indefinitely, starting tonight.’ In which case, students have gotten really really REALLY big in recent years, or you can find some occupying students in the Agora. In either event, check the Occupy LaTrobe blog for more infos.

Seemingly stung into action by the political bastardry of Labor students at Monash University (or perhaps not), La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Dewar (formerly Provost at the University of Melbourne) has declared WAR! on student protest: from now until Open Day (August 26), unauthorised public protest by ungrateful students is strictly verboten — on pain of death expulsion.

Student protests at La Trobe must be officially approved
Jane Lee
The Age
August 21, 2012

STUDENTS at La Trobe University could be suspended or expelled for protesting on campus without permission until after the university’s Open Day.

La Trobe vice-chancellor John Dewar emailed all students yesterday afternoon, advising them they would have to get approval from the university at least 24 hours before any protest until next Friday…

I haven’t read the email but if someone would like to send it to me, please do.

Appointed in January 2012, regarding Dewar’s appointment the Chancellor, Adrienne E Clarke, announced that:

Professor Dewar joins the University at a time of critical change and challenge in the Australian higher education system. His leadership will build on the foundations established by the former Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson, which has included revitalising the Bundoora and Bendigo campuses and identifying the University’s strategic priorities…

Translated from academese into plain English, of late ‘change’ and ‘challenge’ has meant, inter alia, the abolition of approximately 500 subjects and the sacking of 40 staff in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences. These changes will prove to be quite a challenge to those students interested in studying art history, gender, sexuality, Indonesian, linguistics, religion, spirituality and all the other, equally-useless subjects best kept the near-exclusive domain of middle class students at Melbourne (or possibly Monash). (NB. On August 15, the University’s media unit announced that ‘Linguistics, Indonesian, Art History and Gender, Sexuality & Diversity Studies’ will still be available.)

Amusingly, the law-talking guy from Oxford University (by way of Griffith and Melbourne) claimed upon his appointment:

One of La Trobe’s greatest assets is the contribution it makes to regional Victoria. I look forward to engaging with staff and students and key community groups in Bundoora and throughout our regional campuses in coming weeks and months…

The engagement has proven to be a fruitful one and Dewar has made his own contribution by presiding over the further dismantling of higher education in regional Victoria, cutting staff at campuses at Wodonga and Shepparton. An “exasperated” Stefano de Pieri is not. happy at the progress being made, resigning his place on the Mildura campus Board.

Sadly, the reaction of some students has been to protest these changes, the unlearned yoof failing to appreciate the political lessons being taught. To that end, a rally has been organised for 10am on Sunday, August 26 on the corner of Kingsbury Drive and Plenty Road (near one of the entrances to the University) and a list of demands issued by the ‘Stop the HUSS Cuts collective’:

• No cuts to the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences;
• The University enter into open and honest negotiations with the NTEU;
• Instead of budgeting to cut staff and subjects, the university focus on retaining staff;
• The VC, other members of University Council and senior management take cuts to their pay; the money saved to be spent on retaining staff and subjects in the HUSS Faculty.

See also in another world a million miles away : The 2012 Strike in Québec: Full Report, crimethInc, August 14, 2012.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in !nataS, State / Politics, Student movement, That's Capitalism! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Dear La Trobe student, Protest is baaad. Get it?

  1. Jessica Lenehan says:

    The Vice-Chancellor’s email in full:

    Subject: Protests that affect normal University Operations / Open Day

    Body: This Directive addresses potential protest action relating, but not limited to, the restructure of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

    Students have a right to protest matters of concern to them through peaceful assembly. However, it is unacceptable for protests to threaten the success of Open Day or disrupt other University activities.

    Open Day is the University’s primary opportunity to invite prospective students and their families onto our campuses and encourage them to choose La Trobe for their tertiary study. Open Day builds the University’s reputation in the community, and gives students and staff the opportunity to celebrate and promote the University’s strengths. The success of Open Day has a direct impact on the viability of individual faculties and the University as a whole, by improving enrolments in the following years.

    The University will take reasonable steps to ensure public safety and good order on its campuses and on Open Day. To that end, I direct that any planned protest be notified in writing to Mr David Ensor, Vice-President (Operations) via email to [email protected] at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of any protest. A specific area of the campus will be designated for any protests, ensuring that protesters are able to make their point in a meaningful way without undue risk to the safety or enjoyment of any person visiting, studying or working on the campus.

    I further direct that any protest be carried out in a way that:

    Avoids disruption to legitimate University activities, including those associated with the 2012 Open Day;
    Does not present a risk to the safety or wellbeing of any person;
    Does not threaten or intimidate any person; and
    Does not present a risk to or damage any University property or facilities.

    A failure by a student to comply with the requirements of this direction will be treated as General Misconduct under the University’s General Misconduct Statute 2009. Any protesters who are not students or staff of La Trobe will be dealt with as trespassers under the law.

    This directive applies until 31 August 2012.

    Professor John Dewar
    Vice-Chancellor and President | La Trobe University | Victoria 3086 |
    p: 03 9479 2000 | f: 03 9471 0093| e: [email protected]
    La Trobe University – ranked top in Victoria for student satisfaction (Sweeney Uni Student Report, 2009)

  2. @ndy says:

    Thanks Jessica.

    Please note that I will take reasonable steps to ensure public safety and good order on my blog and on Grand Final Day. To that end, I direct that any planned comment be sent to Mr David Ensor, Vice-President (Operations) via email to [email protected] at least 24 hours prior to submission. A specific area of my blog will be designated for any disagreement with the principles of anarchism or the virtues of Collingwood Football Club, ensuring that Internet users and AFL fans are able to make their point in a meaningful way without undue risk to the safety or enjoyment of any person visiting, studying or working on my blog.

  3. anon says:

    Interesting to see SAlt and the Socialist Party working together.

  4. lumpnboy says:

    “A specific area of the campus will be designated for any protests…” So very free-speech-zone; La Trobe’s Open Day is like having the US President driving by. SBS remains correct – the world is an amazing place.

  5. @ndy says:

    I believe that an amazing place called the Agora is having a University-sponsored ‘Sausage Sizzle For Democracy’ on Sunday as a special treat for students who don’t mind being kettled.

  6. Derek, who doesn't want to study theology, but would like the damned option. says:

    The vice-chancellor clearly has no idea what a stupendous cock-end he resembles.

  7. @ndy says:


    Maybe… or maybe he just felt it necessary to remind students of his authority and the fact that both he and the police claim the legal right (and the lawful duty) to punish alleged infractions of University rules/laws of trespass. The use of such threats is relatively rare but hardly unheard of. From a broader political perspective it has some utility in reminding students (and staff) of their subordinate status and the public generally of the nature of an ostensibly public institution. Interestingly, according to Barry York (Student Revolt! La Trobe University 1967–73, 1989, p.131), “September 30, 1971, marks the first occasion in Australian history when police entered a University campus to disperse a student sit-in.”

    The vast majority of students, then and now, remain an inert mass and pose little or no threat to institutional authority. This ain’t Montreal…

  8. Kieran says:

    Well this is enough to make one cough on their weetbix!

    One of La Trobe’s greatest assets is the contribution it makes to regional Victoria.

    Bullshit. La Trobe runs a variety of second-rate rural campuses that it uses as feeders to it’s Melbourne campus.

    Here in the fine city of Wodonga the Arts program has long since been gutted. Only a handful of staff are employed locally, and most lectures are by video link. The classes offered are still not enough to complete a program, and students will inevitably have to face doing some courses entirely “online”.

    There are only three available majors: History, Sociology and English. A Politics ‘minor’ is available.

    That is the situation now.

    Now we’re not even sure if there will be an Arts program here next year. In consultation sessions we’ve heard phrases like “dynamic new online tutorials” and “flexible delivery”.

    Whether there will be any Arts courses taught on campus is unclear. Administration is not being forthcoming with answers.

    What is clear is that there will no long be ANY majors. Instead, students at this campus will be offered a “broad based” “generalist” major, “across disciplines”.

    Students here are doing one of two things. Those who can afford to move are applying for transfers to other universities; those of us who are stuck here are looking into the options available from a specialist distance education provider.

    I wish Bundoora students all the best with their occupation, but I hold out little hope for this and other regional campuses. In the universe of La Trobe, these little satellites have always been a mere afterthought.

  9. @ndy says:

    I think the answer is pretty simple: if you choose your parents carefully enough, you may even get to go to Oxford.

  10. Derek's sociology tutor, Derek. says:

    Everything sucks.

  11. Pingback: “Come get it!” Security guard assaults student at La Trobe | slackbastard

  12. Pingback: Students eh? | slackbastard

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