(Australian Associated Press)
The University of Sydney’s vice-chancellor has given permission for students and staff to walk out of classes this week to attend a climate change rally.
Thousands of students from more than 50 classes at the university have passed a motion supporting a mass walk-off on Friday, organisers say.
The motion calls for publicly-owned, 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, a just transition to green jobs, and no new sources of fossil fuel.
Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence has agreed not to penalise staff and students who miss classes.
“Climate change is undoubtedly one of the most important and complex challenges facing humanity, and an issue that is of great to concern to many University of Sydney students and staff,” Mr Spence wrote an email to organisers of the walk-off on Monday.
“The university will not hinder any individuals expressing an opinion or penalise any staff or students who join the rally on Friday. We will ensure that all staff are aware of this.”
The walk-offs will coincide with a nationwide school student strike calling for action on climate change.
Sydney University climate walk-off organising committee spokesman Daniel Cotton hopes Friday’s action will lead to other strike action across society.
“What ended the Vietnam War was ‘stop work to stop the war’ … giant moratorium marches,” Mr Cotton told AAP on Tuesday.
“We need a movement that size, we’re just doing our little part here to set an example for everyone else, at every other university, every other workplace.
“This is what we need to be all doing together if we’re going to prevent catastrophic climate change.”
Sydney University students will be joined by contingents from the University of Technology Sydney and the University of NSW on Friday.
They will join school students converging on Town Hall in the CBD.