Encampment protest in Kambri update

27 May 2024

Message from the Chief Operating Officer 

Dear colleagues 


As you may have seen, the University today directed the small number of remaining participants in the encampment in the University’s Kambri precinct to vacate the site as it poses an unacceptable safety risk. The full statement is available here. 


The encampment is occupying the primary emergency evacuation site for the large number of people living in, working in, and visiting Kambri.   


A real-time fire alarm evacuation of Fenner Hall and Kambri Cultural Centre last week demonstrated that alternative evacuation sites previously established were inadequate.  This failure was immediately reported to University authorities and an investigation identified an unacceptable safety risk.  Since then we have mitigated this risk by placing additional security personnel around the site to help manage any evacuation that might be necessary, but this is not a long-term solution.  


This morning, at the earliest opportunity, encampment participants were issued a formal direction to vacate the Kambri precinct and to remove tents, marquees and personal belongings from that space.   


We respect the right of all members of our community to protest, provided it is safe, respectful and lawful. To facilitate ongoing protest, if that is what members of our community wish to undertake, ANU has offered alternative sites for that purpose. This includes the University Avenue lawns near North Road and the lawns outside the Chancelry. These sites are appropriate and safe places for protest activity, neither being primary or secondary evacuation points for University buildings.   


The encampment participants have so far chosen not to vacate the site, despite a lawful direction from the University that they should do so. As a result, responsibility for the safe clearing of the site has been assumed by ACT Policing. The police have notified the University it has given participants until 12 noon tomorrow, Tuesday 28 May, to leave the encampment. 


We expect that encampment participants will follow directions from police. Police directions are enforceable under law.   


It is important to emphasise the University’s direction to leave Kambri is about the safety of the campus in the event of an emergency.  No one has been told not to protest.  


I also want to state that these are our students and members of our community, and we wish to continue to manage this issue in a compassionate and sensible manner, and in dialogue with protesting members of our community. For the safety of everyone in Kambri, it is likely some tenancies will be closed tomorrow and surrounding buildings restricted to swipe card access only.  


To encampment participants and those close to them, we ask you to join us in prioritising the safety of our community. The encampment is occupying an emergency evacuation site which needs to remain clear so that we can safely evacuate our people in the event of an emergency.  



Christopher Price 

Chief Operating Officer