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detention industry
Politics

Open letter to the University of Melbourne: Divest from the detention industry

The open letter below, encouraging the University of Melbourne to divest from Wilson Security, was sent to Vice Chancellor Prof Duncan Maskell in June.

 

Dear Prof Maskell,

Following the leadership of RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees, we, the undersigned academics and professional staff, write to strongly encourage the University of Melbourne to divest from Wilson Security. Wilson Security is currently not only providing security services for the University, but is also one of the primary contractors involved in the running and maintenance of the refugee detention industry. This divestment call has been made by ex-detainees, people with direct lived experience of abuse perpetrated by Wilson Security and other complicit security companies in the name of the Australian government.

There have been countless reports and inquiries regarding the deaths, torture and sexual abuse faced by refugees who have been arbitrarily incarcerated within Australia’s mandatory detention centres. These detention centres are directly orchestrated by the Australian government for profit. Despite the fact that this information has been a topic of public discussion for several years, and despite long-standing calls by RISE and other organisations to divest, the University of Melbourne remains financially tied to Wilson Security, a security company that, through staffing these centres, actively perpetrates torture upon those seeking safety and asylum.

As you mentioned in your message after the Christchurch terror attacks on the 18th March, ‘the values of respect, diversity and inclusion … are central to campus life. Terrible events like those in Christchurch remind us of the fundamental importance of education in building respect in a safe society.’ A crucial part of embodying the aforementioned values is being able to embed these within the University’s organisational structure and contracting choices. Applying these values involves reconsidering the University’s choice to remain complicit in the refugee industrial complex. A successful example of divestment from Wilson Security is the National Gallery of Victoria, a leading cultural institution that has set a precedent by taking up public calls to divest from the refugee detention industry. Another is the University of Newcastle, who cut an $88 million management and maintenance contract with Broadspectrum in 2017.

Specifically, we ask that the University of Melbourne:

  1. Follow the RISE call to divest from the detention industry immediately and sever ties with Wilson Security in line with the University’s ethical commitments.
  2. Commit to a long-term strategy that applies the University’s values of respect, diversity and inclusion to meaningfully include those seeking protection from persecution and war – current refugee detainees and ex-detainees. This strategy should be applied both in the University’s management and maintenance contracting choices and more broadly within the institution.

Signed,

Professor Tony Birch, Victoria University

Professor Ghassan Hage, The University of Melbourne

Professor Gillian Triggs, The University of Melbourne

A/Professor Justin Clemens, The University of Melbourne

Professor Nikos Papastergiadis, The University of Melbourne

Professor Tamara Kohn, The University of Melbourne

Professor John Langmore, The University of Melbourne

Professor Dianne Otto, The University of Melbourne

Professor Sarah Maddison, The University of Melbourne

Professor Alison Young, The University of Melbourne

A/Professor Monica Minnegal, The University of Melbourne

A/Professor Fran Martin, University of Melbourne

A/Prof Alyson Campbell, The University of Melbourne

Dr Rimi Khan, The University of Melbourne

Dr Kalissa Alexeyeff, The University of Melbourne

Dr. Erin Fitz-Henry, The University of Melbourne

Dr Danny Butt, The University of Melbourne

Dr Tessa Laird, The University of Melbourne

Dr Bart Klem, The University of Melbourne

Dr Kate Just, The University of Melbourne

Dr Lisa Radford, The University of Melbourne

Dr Raafat Ishak, The University of Melbourne

Dr Elise Klein, The University of Melbourne

Dr Joe Hughes, The University of Melbourne

Dr Maria Tumarkin, The University of Melbourne

Dr Ruth De Souza, The University of Melbourne

Dr Nikki Moodie, The University of Melbourne

Dr Rosemary Overell, The University of Otago

Dr Debra McDougall, The University of Melbourne

A/Prof Anne Harris, RMIT University

Dr Jordana Silverstein, The University of Melbourne

Dr Martin Tomko, The University of Melbourne

Dr Robbie Fordyce, Monash University

Dr Elham Naghizade, University of Melbourne

Dr Miranda Smith, University of Melbourne

Suneel Jethani, University of Melbourne

Dr Kate O’Halloran, Victoria University

Caitlin McGrane, RMIT University

Dr Jay Daniel Thompson, University of Melbourne and Victoria University

Kate Chalmers, The University of Melbourne

Ameera Katar, The University of Melbourne

Fan Yang, University of Melbourne

Nicolette Muratti, University of Melbourne

Beth Sprunt, The University of Melbourne

Priyanka Pillai, The University of Melbourne

Dr Carolyn D’Cruz, La Trobe University

A/Prof Tilman Ruff AO, University of Melbourne

Naomi Francis, University of Melbourne

Capucine Penicaud, University of Melbourne

Rick Prakhoff, University of Melbourne

Katherine Gilbert, University of Melbourne

Dr Beni Halvorsen, RMIT University

Lu Lin, RMIT University and University of Melbourne

Sophie Hindes, University of Melbourne

Alice McDonald, University of Melbourne

Dr Mridula Nath Chakraborty, Monash University

Dr Mathias Stevenson, Monash University

Carol Que, University of Melbourne

Priya Kunjan, University of Melbourne

Dr Tresa LeClerc, RMIT University

Dr Gilbert Caluya, University of Melbourne

Ceren Ayas, University of Melbourne

Dr Adrian McNeil, Monash University

Dr Laura Jean McKay, University of Melbourne

Stephanie Milsom, RMIT University

Estelle Boyle, University of Melbourne

Thao Phan, Deakin University

Bronwyn Bell, University of Melbourne

Indigo Holcombe-James, RMIT University

Massimo Amerena, Victoria University

Kim Munro, RMIT University

Ruth Richards, RMIT University

John Morton, La Trobe University

Sibylla Scott, The University of Melbourne

Dr Sarah Rogers, University of Melbourne

Adam Hembree, University of Melbourne

Dr Ken Setiawan, The University of Melbourne

Giles Fielke, The University of Melbourne

Dr Mary Tomsic, The University of Melbourne

Grace Torcasio, The University of Melbourne

Dr Una McIlvenna, The University of Melbourne

Eleanor Benson, The University of Melbourne

Emmeline Kildea, RMIT University

Nonie May, The University of Melbourne

Megan Taylor, The University of Melbourne and RMIT University

Dr Ntina Tzouvala, University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Chris Healy, The University of Melbourne

Alexandra Walker, The University of Melbourne

Dr Louise Olliff, The University of Melbourne

Jessica Parker, The University of Melbourne

Georgia Martin, RMIT University

Carissa Hong, The University of Melbourne

Dr Patricia Jackson, The University of Melbourne

Jessica Majcen, The University of Melbourne

Zoe Bartlett, The University of Melbourne

Dr Leonie Brialey, Deakin University

Nicholas Tan, The University of Melbourne

Georgia Pryce, The University of Melbourne

Natalie Ironfield, The University of Melbourne

Dr Ngaree Blow, The University of Melbourne

Fia Hamid-Walker, The University of Melbourne

Dr Bianca Fileborn, The University of Melbourne

Dr Daniella Trimboli, Deakin University

André Dao, The University of Melbourne

Felicity Ford, The University of Melbourne

A/Prof Nick Thieberger, The University of Melbourne

Christopher O’Neill, The University of Melbourne

Sally Ann McIntyre, Deakin University

Scheherazade Bloul, Deakin University

Johanna Commins, The University of Melbourne

Raiane Da Silva Oliveira, The University of Melbourne

Matthew Guy, Deakin University

Jennifer Lucy, Deakin University

Tim Lindgren, The University of Melbourne

Nathalie Michel, Deakin University

Dr Magdalena Arias Cubas, Deakin University

Shirin Tejani, Deakin University

Elizabeth Hicks, The University of Melbourne

Marika Sosnowski, The University of Melbourne

Dr Odette Kelada, The University of Melbourne

Margherita Mezzasoma, The University of Melbourne

Liam Elphick, The University of Melbourne

Nur Shkembi, The University of Melbourne

Professor Jodie McVernon, The University of Melbourne

Dr Ben Silverstein, Australian National University

Dr Jacquelene Drinkall, University of Tasmania

Dr Eden Smith, The University of Melbourne

Rasheeda Wilson, The University of Melbourne

Dr Hannah McCann, University of Melbourne

Annisa Sabrina Hartoto, The University of Melbourne

Dr Natalie Hendry, Deakin University

Kate Mannell, The University of Melbourne

Renata Luhr, The University of Melbourne

Peter Annear, The University of Melbourne

Dr Karen Block, The University of Melbourne

Nita Okoko, The University of Melbourne

Luke Stickels, The University of Melbourne

Alex Griffin, The University of Melbourne

Melanie Ashe, The University of Melbourne

Kate Clark, The University of Melbourne

Patricia Di Risio, The University of Melbourne

A/Prof Jennifer Balint, The University of Melbourne

Dr Dave McDonald, The University of Melbourne

Kim Yen Howells-Ng, The University of Melbourne

Dr Diana Johns, The University of Melbourne

Dr. Michael Vale, Monash University

Anushia Andrews, The University of Melbourne / RMIT University

Jonathan Graffam,  The University of Melbourne

David Strover, The University of Melbourne

Anthony Koesasi, The University of Melbourne

Tiriki Onus, The University of Melbourne

Marian Crawford, Monash University

Jacynta Krakouer, The University of Melbourne

Anna Saunders, The University of Melbourne

Rebecca Nissen, The University of Melbourne

Dr David Sornig, The University of Melbourne

Dr Ruth Balint, UNSW Sydney

Nicholas Ives, Monash University

Vickie Zhang, The University of Melbourne

Phoebe Quinn, The University of Melbourne

Dr Lan Anh Hoang, The University of Melbourne

Dr Claire Loughnan, The University of Melbourne

Anthony Cardamone, The University of Melbourne

Professor Fiona Haines, The University of Melbourne

Dove Rengger-Thorpe, The University of Melbourne

Rebecca Serong, The University of Melbourne

Charlie Sofo, Monash University

Rachael James, The University of Melbourne

Blake Sims, The University of Melbourne

Professor Dennis Altman, La Trobe University

Ben Kunkler, University of Melbourne

Dr Kate Beynon, Monash University

Nadia Aly, The University of Melbourne

A/Prof David Beynon, University of Tasmania

Kate Adams, University of Melbourne

Dr Maria Giannacopoulos, Flinders University

Sobia Masood, University of Melbourne

Jasmin Pfefferkorn, University of Melbourne

Dr Rhiannon Bandiera, Flinders University

Katy Chan, University of Melbourne

Maxime Garnery, The University of Melbourne

Tasnim Sammak, PhD Candidate, Monash University (Clayton)

Dr Nadia Rhook, The University of Western Australia

Chabel Khan, The University of Melbourne

Dr Gerald Roche, La Trobe University

Dr Elliot Dolan-Evans, Monash University

Dr Mario Peucker, Victoria University

Rebecca Bunn, PhD Candidate, The University of Melbourne

Dr Sahar Ghumkhor, The University of Melbourne

Dr Gabriel García Ochoa, Monash University

Dr Crystal McKinnon, RMIT University

John van Kooy, Research Associate and PhD Candidate, Monash University

Csilla Csongvay, The University of Melbourne

Voytek Lapinski, The University of Melbourne

Rita Zhang, The University of Melbourne

Tinonee Pym, Swinburne University of Technology

Robert Todesco, The University of Melbourne

Dr Nesam McMillan, The University of Melbourne

Joanna Watts, The University of Melbourne (Director of Operations)

Dr Sophie Rudolph, The University of Melbourne

Robert McDougall, The University of Melbourne

Yanni Jiang, The University of Melbourne

Dr Francesco Ricatti, Monash University

Josiah Lulham, University of Melbourne

Dr Zora Simic, University of New South Wales

Dr Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, Deakin University

Dr Amy Nethery, Deakin University

Dr Lisa Waller, Deakin University

Professor Charles Green, University of Melbourne

A/Prof Sara Wills, University of Melbourne

Charlene Edwards, University of Melbourne

Dr Julie Choi, University of Melbourne

Dr Yvette Maker, University of Melbourne

Dr James Parker, University of Melbourne

Dr Nick Riemer, University of Sydney

Neika Lehman, University of Melbourne

Dr Victor Sojo, The University of Melbourne

Dr Cathy Vaughan, The University of Melbourne

Kylie Tran, The University of Melbourne

Anastasia Kanjere, La Trobe University

Gabrielle de Vietri, RMIT University

Sara Brocklesby, The University of Melbourne

Dr Helen Hughes, Monash University

A/Prof Sheena Sullivan, University of Melbourne

Eugenia Zoubtchenko, University of Melbourne

Anastasia Slipper, University of Melbourne

Elizabeth Maunder, University of Melbourne

Francesca Pecoraro, University of Melbourne

Tamsen Hopkinson, Monash University

James Holloway, The University of Melbourne

Jennifer Spiegel, The University of Melbourne

A/Professor Tara McDowell, Monash University

Russell Wilkinson, The University of Melbourne

Lauren Cairns, University of Melbourne

Michelle Green, The University of Melbourne

Han Zhou, The University of Melbourne

Kate Hale, The University of Melbourne

Kate Dunn, the University of Melbourne

William Bevens, The University of Melbourne

Dave Dunstan, The University of Melbourne

Robert McDougall, The University of Melbourne

Ruth Jelley, University of Melbourne

Thomas Atkin, University of Melbourne

Tess Mornane, University of Melbourne

David Randall, University of Melbourne

Sachith Thomas, University of Melbourne

Pompei Ranaldo, University of Melbourne

Allison Chan, University of Melbourne

 

 

 Image: crop from RISE poster for Ex-Detainees’ Day 2016

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