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Statement regarding the police response to protests on campus

14 October 2020
The University of Sydney issued a statement this afternoon, regarding the police response to recent protests on campus.

We are very disturbed by the footage we’ve seen of today’s events.

We encourage anyone who thinks that they were treated poorly by the police to lay a complaint. Support is also available for our community from our Counselling and Psychological Services for students and our Employee Assistance Provider for staff.

We have not heard back from NSW Police following our previous attempts to discuss their response to recent protests on campus. We will contact them again as a matter of urgency, and express our serious concerns. We will also reiterate our offer to discuss different approaches that might avoid similar situations occurring at future events.

We did not invite NSW Police on to campus today. NSW Police did contact us once ahead of the event, and twice during it. We confirmed we were aware activity was planned, based on social media. We provided no further information or judgement about the activities, and did not make any requests.

We have our own crowd management protocols to ensure a safe environment for all events including protests. NSW Police also make their own decisions and take actions they consider necessary in the interest of public safety, including under the Public Health Order.

We strongly defend freedom of speech and support the right of our students and staff to express their views in a legal, safe and respectful way. This year we’ve regularly engaged with our student representatives and staff unions, and encouraged them to develop COVID safe plans for events in line with NSW Health advice and to liaise directly with NSW Police.