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BREAKING: University Responds to Climate Strike Letter

15 March 2019

The University has refused to support the School Strike 4 Climate and refused requests for staff and students to not be penalised for participating in the walk-off.

Earlier this week, the University of Melbourne Contingent to the Climate Strike sent an open letter to Vice Chancellor Duncan Maskell asking him to endorse the strike and that staff and students not be penalised.

In an email in response to the letter, Acting Vice Chancellor Mark Considine said, “Students who decide to take part in the action should consider that the University is unable to guarantee that any work that may be missed as a result can be delivered on another day. This would ideally be discussed at a local level with course coordinators to see if alternative arrangements can be made.”

“I note you have requested that the University issue an all student/staff email advising of local arrangements for the march. The University has agreed protocols which govern the use of these channels and I can confirm this request falls outside those guidelines.”

University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) Environment Office Bearer and member of the University’s contingent Will Ross said, “It is deeply alarming that Melbourne University protocols prevent students taking action on the most important and urgent issue of our lives.”

“As we prepare to join the thousands of school strikers today in a historic moment for Australia’s climate movement, it is unfortunate that the University, which prides itself on being at the forefront of climate research and sustainability, is not able to join us even symbolically for that moment.”

Other universities across the country such as the University of Sydney and Macquarie University have come out in support of the strike following similar letters from their respective student unions. Multiple universities around the world are also supporting the global strike.

UMSU President Molly Willmott said,

“It’s disappointing that university management haven’t come out in clear and explicit support of the students striking for climate justice today. We were hoping that the University of Melbourne would follow the lead of Flinders university and the University of Sydney, who have supported those students who wish to leave class to strike. We hope that the University can reconsider their stance and that students be able to miss class without being penalised today.”

The strike will be happening today. The University of Melbourne contingent departs the Sidney Myer Asia Centre at 10:30am.

More to come.

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