Students bravely stop assault on lecturer
THREE students have been praised after rushing to help a female Australian National University lecturer being attacked with a baseball bat.
A student, 18, sprang from his seat in the statistics lecture in Canberra at about 9.15am yesterday and assaulted the lecturer with the bat.
Three students, one male and two female, ran up to save her. Detective Superintendent Ben Cartwright would not be speculate whether the young, white male’s violent outburst was racially motivated.
Several of the students were Asian, but the lecturer’s background is unknown.
“It is too early to determine the motivation behind this,” Supt Cartwright said.
“All indications are that it is an isolated incident.”
The youth is not known to police or intelligence agencies.
“He put up a fight when he had the baseball bat but once it was taken off him the students were able to restrain him and campus security restrained him until police arrived,” Supt Cartwright said.
Those caught in the assault suffered injuries including broken bones and have been taken to Canberra Hospital.
“Incredible bravery on their behalf,” Supt Cartwright said. “I believe one of the students actually took the bat from the student … and then returned later and given it to police.”
Campus security staff raised the alarm after restraining the student and police arrived soon afterwards.
Investigations are continuing and the university is offering support to those affected.
“The university’s first priority is the welfare of our staff and students, counselling services are being provided,” said an ANU spokesperson.
ANU deputy vice chancellor Marni Hughes-Warrington said she was moved by the students’ bravery.
“We’re a small community, … we really care for one another,” she said.
“This is an isolated and random incident that’s happened in a very caring community.”
Students were sent a message following the attack.
“You may be aware that earlier today an incident occurred in the Copland precinct of the ANU campus. There is no threat to the safety and security of staff and students on campus,” the message read.
“If you or someone you know is in distress or needs assistance, help is available.”