Like any politically-minded university student I have followed the events since the announcement of the Budget with great interest. I am not for one actively going out and protesting, instead preferring to remain inside where I can safely express my outrage on social media. Therefore I have a great deal of admiration for those who are willing to actually stand up for the rights of students and fight for them, even if it comes to a clash with the police, as seems to happen increasingly more often these days.
I disagree with most of Tom Raue’s politics. I have met him on a few occasions and unlike some others within the Union his genuineness sticks out, but the subject of this letter is not the legal battle he was involved in last year, rather the incident with Julie Bishop. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be the target of what became a slightly violent jostle, not least as a woman. The footage shows Bishop’s smugness created a protective aura around her, not discounting the presence of her own bodyguards and campus security who, unlike students, are professionally trained to deal with such situations.
This footage, of course, has proved a double-edged sword. Yesterday (March 23) it was announced that after a review by the University, Raue would be banned from campus grounds for the next month, after allegedly striking a campus security officer. Although the matter is under investigation, Raue has so far not been charged or convicted. Of course, violence ought not to be condoned, but the University has a very selective memory.
I’m sure all of us remember the protests last year in which police were invited on to campus and filmed engaged in punching, kicking and shoving students. Such incidents took place again on Thursday evening, when the number of police officers was reportedly about equal to the number of protesters, and the violence of such officers was reported on and witnessed by the mainstream media. Yet never are we given any sense that the University is concerned about the welfare of its students. Never has there been any real acknowledgment of the violence suffered
by its students. Always are we given the sense that the University administration is against freedom of protest and on the side of that old saying ‘might makes right’.
Elliot Nolan, Arts V (Hons)