Student council at Flinders University is currently engaged in a campaign to raise awareness for a National Day of Action (NDA) that is currently planned for May 11. Councillors have run into trouble with security as they poster the plaza area. Council sought, and successfully acquired, permission to put the posters on the plaza’s pillars.
Security at Flinders responded by tearing down the posters despite the permission that had been given to the council in running their poster campaign.
Council members who had previously put up the posters returned to replace the destroyed materials. The council’s initial permission dictated the use of blutac, a requirement they adhered to. Once the permitted posters were destroyed, council members put them up with sticky tape.
Student President Caleb Pattinson responded to security’s destruction of the permitted campaign materials (paid for by SSAF funds) by sticking an additional poster to the glass front of the security room.
Pattinson said the dispute came down to the ‘debate of how the University wants the space to be used. Is it a space built for student use or are we seeing further commodification of the university system?’
The situation has been described as having ‘spiralled out of control’ as council and security disputed the use of the facilities.
‘When the university blatantly uses vital student support and services money to use on their pet Hub project, they need to acknowledge students will try to reclaim the space,’ Pattinson said of the Hub spaces.
Student activists at Flinders disputed security stating that ‘certain spaces of the redeveloped Student Plaza and Hub’ could not be used for postering purposes.
Pattinson labelled the actions of removing the posters to be ‘bordering on oppression of free speech’ and added that ‘Council are disappointed with security’s response and how some members were targeted through the day’.
Nation Day of Action for which the council was raising awareness takes place on May 11 at Rundle Mall, commencing at 3pm.
Edit: Doubts have arisen over council’s permission to poster the Plaza area. Student President Caleb Pattinson said the following when questioned by Empire Times:
‘Student Council were unaware official permission was required to put a poster up in our student space. After we were alerted to this, official permission was sought and received – this was after the first round of posters were removed but before the second and third.’
Words by Liam McNally.