Students Kicked Out Of Chifley Following Blanket ID Checks
By Ali El-Zein
On 22 May ANU UniSafe officers – formerly known as ANU Security – checked University Identification from person-to-person at Chifley library. Students without their student card were asked to leave. Some students presented their Wattle page to the UniSafe officers, but were still asked to leave.
UniSafe guards were also stationed at the entrance of the library to turn people away who were not carrying ANU student IDs. According to one guard, such checks may occur randomly during after-hours periods.
Mike Turner, an ANU student who was studying at Chifley at the time, told Observer that someone “who didn’t identify themselves [as a UniSafe officer] until I asked them, came around and asked to see my student ID. I said I didn’t have it. He then proceeded to ask me to leave or call ANU security for an exception”.
Turner said that as an ANU student, it “didn’t feel great” being kicked out, particularly given that he showed the officer his Wattle. He also noted that “everyone in the library was quietly going about their business, dedicating their Saturday to study” and therefore it was “a little harsh to, in effect, punish students for doing this”.
Further, Turner said that while the policy of restricting non-ANU access made sense, it was unreasonable to “start enforcing this without warning”. Turner also expressed concerns over the implications for accessibility the measure posed as “common resources such as libraries should be accessible for all ANU students”.
Another ANU student, Vishanee Allaire, who tried to enter Chifley told Observer that she was “stopped by a woman from ANU who repeatedly turned people away” for not having a student ID. Allaire also showed her Wattle to the UniSafe officer.
Further, Allaire was confused by the UniSafe officer’s explanation that the ID checks were to ensure ANU students (rather than non-ANU) were using the facility and that it was a COVID-19 contract tracing measure. She also reiterated Turner’s frustration regarding accessibility given the upcoming exam period.
According to ANU Library, ANU students and staff are permitted access to Chifley after-hours “with an ANU ID card”. More broadly, section nine of ANU’s ‘Buildings and Site’ Security Policy states that access to buildings requires those in charge of security to balance “the need for security against the need to maintain access for legitimate users”.
Speaking to Observer, an ANU spokesperson detailed the circumstances when requests for ID can be made, particularly after-hours:
1. A complaint has been made and identities need to be established
2. Offensive behaviour has occurred
3. An individual is sleeping in the library (welfare check)
4. Suspicious persons
5. Seeking a person of interest
Further, they stated that in this particular instance Unisafe officers were following correct procedure, policies and protocols. However, they noted that the option of providing a ‘U number’ rather than an ID “may not have been made clear to affected students at the time of asking”.
The spokesperson did not respond to queries regarding any need for heightened security at this time.
The spokesperson concluded that “the university is looking into this incident and how it can ensure [providing a U number as sufficient identification] is clear to all students in the future”.
Graphics by Joseph Oh
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