Sydney Institute of Criminology statement on student protests

20 October 2020
Sydney Institute of Criminology releases statement on the student protests
The Sydney Institute of Criminology Executive has released a statement on the recent student protests at The University of Sydney, and condemns any misuse of power exercised by NSW Police.

The Executive of the Sydney Institute of Criminology adds its voice to that of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Dr Michael Spence, and the Head of School and Dean of Sydney Law School, Professor Simon Bronitt, in condemnation of any misuse of powers exercised by the NSW Police Force on and around the University of Sydney’s main campus in recent months; and particularly on Wednesday 14 October 2020.

The Vice Chancellor has described footage of the police activity around the campus on 14 October 2020 as disturbing – and we agree absolutely with that assessment.

We support the rights of all students involved in the protest on that date and on others; and we express our concern about the treatment of our colleague, Professor Simon Rice, at the 14 October 2020 protest. We express our support for the right of students and staff to engage in peaceful protest, and to observe protests, on and around the grounds of the University of Sydney in a COVID-19 safe manner.

Against the background of widespread public concern regarding police infringement and suppression of vital democratic rights at a number of recent public protests including Black Lives Matter and climate change protests, we seek further information from the NSW Police Force about its officers’ recent conduct on and around campus. We also express our concern about the failure of the NSW Police Force to respond to earlier requests from the Vice Chancellor’s office to discuss these police activities.

We understand that a representative of the NSW Police Force will be meeting with the Vice Chancellor to discuss these issues and we welcome this recent development.

We request that the NSW Police Force give immediate consideration to the proportionality and legitimacy of its policing operations at and around the University of Sydney in recent months – with a view to ensuring that any oppressive police activity at that location is not repeated.   

Sydney Institute of Criminology Executive:

  • Professor Arlie Loughnan, Director, Sydney Institute of Criminology
  • Professor Rita Shackel, Director, Sydney Institute of Criminology
  • Dr Carolyn McKay, Deputy Director, Sydney Institute of Criminology
  • Mr Andrew Dyer, Deputy Director, Sydney Institute of Criminology.

Banner image by Chris Slupski on Unsplash.

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