Last week, the ANU published a reminder from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Grady Venville regarding “being respectful during exams.” The reminder directly addresses “ANU staff and students protesting on the University’s campus.”

The ANU Gaza Solidarity encampment, which has been an ongoing protest since the 29th of April, is currently located in the North end of University Avenue, facing the Haydon-Allen Lecture Theatre. The encampment is near buildings designated for exams, notably Melville Hall. 

Examinations began last Thursday, the 30th of May,  and will continue until the 15th of June,  with multiple examinations held on-campus and in-person. The reminder states there will, “be more than 37,300 examination sittings during this period.” 

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor wrote, “As has always been the case, our students, staff and community have the right to freely protest and express their views on the ANU campus.” 

“But protest must be safe, appropriate for our campus, and adhere to Australian law, our codes of conduct and our values as a community.” 

Woroni understands that if protests disrupt exams, they may be given directions by the University to move on, or even leave the campus. There are currently signs posted on traffic cones on University Avenue, which reminds students to remain quiet when entering exam locations. 

In light of this reminder, the rally from the Garema Place to the encampment was cancelled on Saturday. Instead, the weekly Garema Place protest rallied around the city.  

The Gaza solidarity encampment told Woroni, “Following the ANU’s failed attempt, on the 27th of May, to dismantle our encampment, it seems they are looking for yet another excuse to threaten student’s right to peaceful protest.”

On the 27th of May, the ANU issued orders for the encampment to vacate the Kambri lawns by 12 pm the following day on the 28th of May. The encampment relocated to its current location overnight on the 27th. 

They explain, “As students and staff ourselves, we understand the importance of exams. Indeed, many of us have exams to sit, run and mark.” 

“However, currently in Gaza, no students are sitting any exams. Every single university has been destroyed.”  

They maintain, We are not here to be a nuisance. We are not here to simply camp on a lawn. We are here because this institution refuses to cut ties with a genocidal regime and we have a duty to hold them accountable. And if, instead of desperately trying to silence us, the ANU leadership directed their energy into divesting, we too could be at home this exam period.

Woroni’s coverage of the protest and counter-protests will continue in the coming weeks. 


As always, please access support if these events or their coverage are distressing to you. 

ANU Student Safety and Wellbeing Team 

ANUSA Student Assistance 

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