ANU student expelled for comments made on ABC radio at a pro-Palestine encampment

Furious students at the Australian National University (ANU) have come to the defense of a fellow academic who was expelled after he said during a radio interview that Hamas deserved “unconditional support”.

Former ANU student Beatrice Tucker was involved in pro-Palestinian camping on the Canberra campus when she was interviewed for the program on 30 April.

Ms. Tucker was asked what message she would send to Hamas.

“I’m actually saying that Hamas deserves our unconditional support, not because I agree with their strategy, I completely disagree with it,” she said.

“But the current situation is that if you have no hope, if you are sanctioned every day of your life, if you are told that you cannot drive on the road because someone who is Israeli has the right of way, and you sit there for 12 hours, the reality of life in Palestine.”

It is understood that Ms Tucker was banned over the comments.

On Friday, several members of Students for Palestine Canberra took to the campus to protest her expulsion and vowed to continue their protest at next week’s council meeting.

“It is important that all supporters of Palestine stand up against the repression in universities,” they wrote in a post on the social network.

“We will continue to exercise our right to protest ANU’s links to Israeli apartheid and complicity in genocide.

“While Students for Palestine do not support this student’s comments on ABC Radio, their expulsion sets a terrible precedent for free speech and pro-Palestinian activism at ANU and other university campuses.”

An ANU spokesman said the university would not comment on specific disciplinary matters, but would confirm that a number of disciplinary investigations are currently underway into alleged behavior or speech that was contrary to their community values ​​and their code of conduct.

“ANU takes these matters seriously and provides procedural fairness and support to all students,” the spokesperson said.

“If our codes of conduct, student discipline rule or community values ​​are found to have been breached, ANU will take appropriate action.

“ANU is a place of respectful debate and we are proud of our long history of student political engagement.

“All staff and students are free to express themselves and protest in accordance with the university’s policy on academic freedom and free speech.

“With these rights come responsibilities.”

ANU Vice-Chancellor Genevieve Bell told a Senate assessment hearing on Thursday that the higher education sector was facing challenges that included protests in the camps.

Ms Bell said that while they were committed to the ideals of academic rigour, free inquiry, free expression and the right to protest, it was not without its challenges.

“Our campus is one of many in Australia, and even more so around the world, that has seen recent protest activity related to the conflict in the Middle East,” she said.

“During this period, ANU recognized the rights enshrined in the university’s policy on academic freedom and freedom of speech.

“Unfortunately, there have been instances where individuals have behaved in ways that are unacceptable.

“When that happened, we took appropriate action. In accordance with our policy, ANU has taken disciplinary action against 10 students in relation to protest activity related to the conflict in the Middle East.”

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