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Book review: It Can't Happen Here

 Students have a long history of being active in political debates, and students from Flinders University are no exception. Former Flinders University Student’s Association education research officer, Graham Hastings explores the issues that Flinders University students and students around the nation have engaged with over the last four decades.

/canthappensmall.jpgStarting with the anti-conscription protests of the 1960’s, this saw “draft dodgers” hiding in the religious centre, to more recent campaigns against the Howard government, Graham Hasting recounts the multiple occasions on which university students have resisted the status quo and risen up against perceived injustices. As he recounts tales of registry occupations, running street battles and defiant student media, Hasting takes the reader on a journey through the significant events that have shaped student life as we know it today.

The second chapter of the book is a must read for any Flinders University Student. In 1973, Flinders University was the scene of the longest continuous student occupation of a university building. The conflict with the administration began over assessment in first year history courses but quickly moved to focus on control of universities and military research programs on campus. During the occupation of the university's registry building the student occupiers opened the confidential files of the Vice-Chancellor and discovered that he had been involved with and worked for the US Defense Department and the US National Security Agency, the students also produced three pirate editions (including issues 666 and 999) of the On Campus Bulletin and posted it to all students enrolled at the time. The student occupiers were finally driven from the building by senior staff of the university wielding screwdrivers, wire-cutters, and pliers and external security guards reportedly carrying steel bars. In total the occupation and the related protests disrupted the university for a period of approximately four weeks. However, the more long term consequence of the action was a series of discussions seriously contemplating the permanent closure of the University.  

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