SUPPORTER: SCU Vice Chancellor, Professor Adam Shoemaker, at the Future Northern Rivers event.
SUPPORTER: SCU Vice Chancellor, Professor Adam Shoemaker, at the Future Northern Rivers event. Marc Stapelberg

Why SCU won't punish staff or students for walking out today

SOUTHERN Cross University has supported the climate strike announced for today across the nation and assured students and staff they can freely participate in the protest.

Local students and environmental activists will shut down CBD streets today for the Lismore Extinction Rebellion rally.

A newsletter sent out by the Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lismore businesses were notified of the demonstrations set to take place in the CBD today, between 10am and 2pm.

On a recent communication to staff and students, SCU's Vice Chancellor, Prof Adam Shoemaker, said that "the weight of lived and scientific evidence points to the fact that we are facing a global ecological and climate crisis."

"For all of these reasons, and together with all members of the executive, we support those participating in the worldwide, global action highlighting and combating the climate crisis," he said in the message.

"As an institution dedicated to freedom of intellectual enquiry (as per our founding Act) we have resolved that any staff member or student who wishes to do so will not be placed at a disadvantage and we will not stand in the way of their attendance.

"Academic arrangements will be made to cater for any teaching or assessment over that period to ensure that no-one will be adversely impacted."

Prof Shoemaker said the communication was discussed and approved by SCU's Council meeting, held on September 12.

"This is not just me or the chancellor on our own, it's the whole university council who has endorsed this course of action," he explained.

"And while it's wonderful to have an event that draws attention to the issue, the rest of the 364 days of the year we take this as seriously as we will on Friday.

"It's an ongoing, absolute top draw issue for the university, and it cuts across all the disciplines that you imagine: cuts across law and legal studies, in environmental law, and it cuts across business, education, health, indigenous studies, plus sciences, of course, not just dealing with but preventing aspects of climate change," he added.

SCU will continue its environmental activities with a Green Gloves Day on Friday, September 27, from 8am, when volunteers will be doing some pruning and planting koala-friendly trees.



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