THE University of Sydney is continuing its investigation into an anti-Israel protest on campus last month, during which Associate Professor Jake Lynch was involved in an altercation with a 76-year-old woman.
The university is conducting interviews with more than 20 people including Colonel Richard Kemp, whose public talk was disrupted, as well as reviewing photographs and videos, to ascertain what occurred so it can “take appropriate action”.
The AJN can confirm that Kemp changed his flights and flew back to Sydney before leaving the country to speak to the investigators.
University vice-chancellor Dr Michael Spence wrote to all staff last week saying that a large number of complaints had been received by the university, and it is “treating those incidents and the complaints about them very seriously”.
“Any finding that an individual has acted contrary to university codes or policies will be determined in accordance with the procedure relevant to the status of that individual as staff member, affiliate, student or visitor to the university,” Spence said.
He said this might include “initiating disciplinary processes against members of the university community, whether they be staff or students, and taking action against other persons involved in the incidents who are members of the public, including, if it is appropriate, terminating their licence to come onto the campus”.
Education and Training Minister Christopher Pyne last month labelled the protesters as “thugs” after more than a dozen pro-Palestinian students burst into the room chanting “Richard Kemp, you can’t hide, you support genocide.”
During the protest, Lynch, director of the university’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, was involved in an altercation with a woman who, at one point, threw water at him. The argument continued with Lynch filming her on his phone. She tried to slap and kick him, prompting him to wave banknotes at her to emphasise his warning that he would sue her for assault. Goading her, he tells her to “keep going”, “get your money out” and “it’s going to cost you a lot of money”.
“I want to take this opportunity to again assure you that a core value of the university is tolerance of different points of view,” Spence wrote, “as well as nurturing an environment in which those points of view can be articulated and explored without the exponents of those views being subjected to any type of bullying, harassment or discrimination.”
Jake Lynch (in the red shirt) during the protest.