Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Resistance club stall shut down at Murdoch University

Resistance at Murdoch Uni in 2011
Murdoch University administration has acted to close down student club stalls in the academic orientation week prior to classes beginning and the clubs and societies "O-day".

Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance was one club that set up a small stall on February 17. Campus security were called to remove the stall from campus.

Resistance members complied with the request and packed up the stall, settling to hand out leaflets promoting events on campus. Murdoch University then demanded the leafleting stop.

One other club — that doesn't want to be named — was also reprimanded for handing out leaflets on campus.

Management are claiming this is not what orientation week is for, believing it is a "distraction" to first year students.

Staff from the Murdoch Uni Students Guild initially told Resistance that the club would be banned from participation in the clubs and societies "O-day" but then agreed that Resistance could have a stall.

Guild president Roland Belford told Green Left Weekly that the Guild supports students' right to organise on campus and would monitor the situation.

Resistance has since made attempts to book a stall space through the university and has been initially met with an outright refusal from university management. The club was told that a few hours on Thursdays is the only time that stalls may be set up.

Resistance club member Zeb Parkes believes "this is a worrying crackdown on campus culture and the ability of students to organise, especially against the current funding cuts happening to universities nationally."

UPDATE: On February 25, Resistance Club members were distributing leaflets and selling Green Left Weekly on the Murdoch Uni Bush Court and were asked to get approval from the Guild. After getting such approval there was no further harassment. We'll keep you posted about further developments.

[This article by Alex Bainbridge was written for Green Left Weekly issue 998.]