Campus Announcements

Important information and announcements regarding the impacts of the 2022 floods on Southern Cross campuses and the University community.

Latest updates

1 May 2022

After a period of sustained disruption due to the pandemic and floods, Southern Cross University pleased to advise that Lismore campus will return to face-to-face teaching tomorrow (2 May). This coincides with the commencement of Term 2, and Week 9 of Session 1, 2022.

It will be a very real pleasure to welcome our Lismore students back to the campus at that time, particularly new or returning students who may not yet have had an on-campus experience at our Lismore Campus.

For those of you who are returning to the Lismore campus, you will notice changes to how we use some of our spaces on campus. While some small adjustments may be required, it will make for a more lively, engaging and diverse than ever.

As a result of changes in how we use space at the Lismore Campus, the University has been able to play a vital role as the springboard for recovery after the floods. This work is ongoing, and it is a source of enormous pride that we have been able to accommodate local schools and TAFE as well as a range of government agencies that are driving the recovery effort, health services and local enterprises.


14 April 2022

As the emergency response to the floods now moves to recovery and re-establishment, a few key changes have occurred on the University’s Lismore campus.

First, Living School has now fully established its operations in E block – with the school’s staff and students now happily calling the SCU campus home. University classes that would have been timetabled in E block have therefore been transferred to other suitable locations on campus.

Second, Trinity Catholic College will in coming weeks be increasing its footprint at the Lismore campus from part to full occupancy of R block. This will enable the college to bring together their entire high school cohort “under one roof”, an important outcome for them that Southern Cross is delighted to be in a position to support. There have been briefings for each SCU team that will need to move from R block to support this outcome. Vice Chancellor Professor Tyrone Carlin said he wanted to express sincere thanks to all involved for their graciousness and flexibility in support of this. The Trinity community is also deeply appreciative.

Additionally, the Lismore Primary Health Precinct now operating at the campus gives flood-impacted primary care providers a new home while providing residents access to vital and urgently-needed health services. Established by Healthy North Coast, Chief Executive Office Julie Sturgess said she was delighted to see the new precinct operational just three weeks after the flood emergency.

The Flood Evacuation Centre run by the Department of Communities and Justice ceased operations on April 8.


  31 March

31 March 2022

Vice Chancellor’s message

As I write this message, I find myself experiencing an almost overwhelming sense of disbelief. It rubs very raw that just a few short weeks after the devastation of the unprecedented floods earlier this month, and only 72 hours after the winding down of the evacuation centre established to provide relief from that, our Lismore campus is again being used for that purpose.

Floodwaters are again coursing through Lismore and surrounds. Many roads are impassable and power and telecommunications not available for many members of our community. It therefore seems vital that I reaffirm the resolve that has been so evident in our actions as members of the Southern Cross University community over the past month to meet this latest test with purpose, compassion and solidarity.

Just as was the case in early March, our first concern must be for safety. Whilst there are acute issues in the immediate environs of Lismore, necessitating the closure of the campus until at least the beginning of next week for purposes other than evacuation centre activities, the difficulties we face are more widespread. Therefore, no matter where your role is normally based, do not attempt to come to campus if doing so would require you to navigate floodwaters or damaged or blocked roads or bridges. Stay in touch with your team, but above all, stay safe.

It is important that we continue to approach the situation we face in a practical manner and in a way that enables us to help each other and our broader community.

Therefore, we will extend the availability of paid flexible leave through the month of April and all colleagues will have access to a further 5 days to be used during the month to focus on clean-up, recovery and community assistance activity.

I want to emphasise that for those colleagues who have been directly and profoundly impacted, suitable individualised leave arrangements will continue to be worked out and put in place through direct engagement with HR Services.

We will also extend the staff financial assistance scheme that was put in place as part of our response to the early March flooding. Thus far, 157 colleagues have drawn upon this help over the past month, and it seems wholly appropriate that we continue to help those who have been impacted afresh or again.

At our last town hall event I spoke with the University community about my enormous pride in how we came together to help each other and our community. I recounted the compassion, the kindness, the initiative, the energy and the selflessness that I had seen in such abundance even in the face of deep trauma, and how it spoke to our purpose and character as an institution. Above all, I spoke of the hope with which we looked beyond the immediate, however confronting, towards a better state of being and how that hope helped us move ahead, resolve enormous challenges and come together more closely as a University community.

Hold on to that hope in these coming days. Do not let it go and do what you can to encourage those around you to do likewise.

Sincerely
Tyrone

Tyrone Carlin
Vice-Chancellor and President


  30 March

30 March 2022

Lismore Campus Closure

The weather conditions around Northern NSW have deteriorated significantly overnight with flooding and numerous road closures.

The campus will be closed for the remainder of this week.

Please do not attempt to drive to campus.

We look forward to re-opening the campus on Monday 4th April, 2022.

Stay safe everyone.


  28 March

28 March 2022

Lismore Campus reactivated as an Evacuation Centre

Given the current weather conditions in Northern New South Wales, coupled with flood evacuation warnings now in place for parts of Lismore, the Lismore Campus Evacuation Centre in the main hall of P Block has been reactivated by the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).

We will keep you updated as this developing situation unfolds.


  28 March

28 March 2022

Lismore Campus - schools update

Dear Students and Staff,

I am writing to update you on our ongoing support of flood impacted schools in Lismore. Tomorrow we will welcome students from the Living School to our Lismore campus.

The Living School will be the second flood effected school to reside on our campus joining Trinity Catholic who are operating out of R Block as previously advised.

Additionally, The Rivers Secondary College will soon commence work to build temporary facilities for their students on SCU vacant land adjoining Lismore High School and Military Rd.

In the coming days, I will provide updates on a full return to Lismore Campus for SCU students and staffs, including a return to face-to-face learning in Term 2.

Living School will be located in E Block and offices B2.41-47 of B Block

Only Living School Staff and Students will be able to access E Block

  • Temporary fencing will be erected around the grassed area on the Southern side of E Block to ensure segregation of school students from the broader SCU staff
  • If you need to enter the school zone please email ovc@scu.edu.au for approval
  • School bus drop-off will be at the bus stop adjacent to our Military Road gatehouse. School staff will marshal students from these areas to their designated school area.

Please view the updated Lismore campus Permitted Areas map that shows areas that are school specific and subject to restricted access.

Allan Morris
Vice President, Operations


  13 March

13 March 2022

Gold Coast Campus

To assist the flood relief effort, the University is making available car parking and sleeping space for members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

A section of the largest car park will be fenced off to park heavy ADF vehicles. We will monitor the usage to ensure it does not impact on students and staff, but there will be some access restrictions to allow safe traffic flow.

In addition, over 100 ADF members will be using the Events space on Level 4 of Building A and the Virtual Gym space on the ground floor of Building A. Both of these spaces are currently unused as a result of previous COVID restrictions.

They will also have access to the showers and toilets in Building A and toilets on the ground floor of Building C.

The University is very fortunate to be in a position where we can assist the ADF and other agencies in support of much needed flood recovery work.


11 March, 2022

Lismore Campus Access - from Monday 14 March

Staff Access

Firstly, with the extensive flood recovery operations that are continuing to occur across Lismore campus, next week we will continue to limit campus access to staff who must be on campus to undertake their work, or have been requested to be on campus to perform their work. If your work can otherwise be performed from home then please do not come on campus. If you require internet or computer access, Level 3 of the Learning Centre is available for your use. If you require other campus access, please first seek permission from your supervisor (refer below for areas that will be significantly restricted to staff due to high school students being on campus).

Trinity College

As you may be aware, we have been working closely with local schools in Lismore to assist in their recovery. As an education provider, we have made it a priority to make our facilities and resources available to support schools in need to the greatest extent possible. In providing this support, we are making every effort to minimise the impact it has on our own operations and we remain fully committed to resuming on-campus teaching from our Lismore campus at the earliest opportunity.

On Monday, 14th March, we will welcome a limited number of students from Trinity Catholic College onto our Lismore campus. The safety and wellbeing of these students is of the upmost importance, therefore, we will be restricting access to areas of the University.

Trinity will be located in the teaching areas of R-Block levels 1 and 2 and Y-Block.

See Permitted Areas map

The following arrangements are in place for the remainder of their Term 1 (ending 8th April):

  • Only Trinity Staff and Students will be able to access the above areas.
  • Access to adjacent facilities will be restricted to essential staff only (e.g. EAL, ARL, Technology Services staff; other staff by approval). Staff in adjacent areas should work from home or on Level 3 of the Learning Centre if able to do so.
  • If you need to enter the school zone please email ovc@scu.edu.au. If approval is granted you will need to enter via Trinity’s reception (sign-in and escort procedures apply, as per accessing any school campus).
  • Access to R-Block offices on Level 1, 2 and 3 for SCU staff will be from the North-East end of the building (towards the gardens and foot ramp), not via Whitebrook Theatre or the concrete amphitheatre.
  • School bus drop-off will be at the bus stop adjacent to our Military Road gatehouse. Parent drop-off will be at the drop-off and parking pays outside Whitebrook Theatre. Trinity Staff will marshal students from these areas to R-Block.
  • Trinity Students will have supervised access to the grassed area highlighted on the attached map for approximately 40mins between 12:00-14:00 each day. This area must be avoided during this time. Please follow the instructions of Teachers, Security and Police in this area.

Additional measures being taken to ensure the safety of students:

  • Increased Police and Security patrols
  • Temporary signage and barricading
  • Increased staff to student levels
  • Swipe card access controls

Further updates on future additional schools' on campus and longer-term arrangements in due course. As we develop plans for Term 2 and beyond, we are committed to working with impacted SCU staff to develop solutions that work for all parties.

On behalf of the SCU community, I look forward to welcoming Trinity students to our campus next week and helping to minimise any further disruption to their studies in 2022. Thank you all for your support in this key endeavour.

Allan Morris
Vice President, Operations


  7 March

7 March, 2022

Support for staff volunteers

Over the course of the weekend just past, the spirit that so defines us in the face of adversity was evident in abundance. We continue to provide shelter and care to many vulnerable members of our community who have been displaced and so deeply impacted by the floods, and our Lismore campus continues to be a focal point for community and government responses to this disaster. In addition, in recent days more than 60 people have generously contributed to our and I have written to our Alumni community today to make them aware of the opportunity to help with that effort.

We have had on campus at Lismore today a substantial number of newly commencing students, and through a great team effort, we have been able to begin the process of settling them in and have made sure that they have access to their learning sites and materials and can begin their learning journey. And at our Gold Coast and Coffs Harbour campuses, there has been a real sense of energy and excitement as large numbers of students and staff have the opportunity to come together for the first time in a very long time. That is to be celebrated, even as we confront the sobering reality of what lies ahead in Lismore and surrounds.

Additional Leave Provisions

As much as an enormous amount of hard work has already been done over the past week, it is clear that much of the effort needed to help members of our community in their time of need is yet to happen. At the same time, I know that we are all conscious of the need to continue our services to students and colleagues, particularly with teaching having resumed this week. To that end, the following arrangements will apply for the remainder of March:

  • a further five days of flexible leave is available to engage in community service and clean-up activities;
  • this leave will be available throughout the remainder of March, whenever needed, in and around your University work.

SCU Volunteering

I know many of you will want to help your SCU colleagues whom have been devastated by the flood event – either losing their homes and or all of their possessions. To that end, the University has established a register of SCU volunteers who will be matched to impacted colleagues who may seek assistance in the weeks ahead.

  • To register to provide support to an SCU colleague, please complete the online form available here.
  • If you would prefer to register for the broader Lismore area recovery effort, you can also do so via Resilient Lismore.

In providing volunteer support, please exercise appropriate caution, be mindful of your safety at all times, and use relevant protective equipment. You will also find stocks of helpful cleaning supplies at the Community Clean Up Hub (located at V Block) if these are required.

Tyrone Carlin
Vice Chancellor and President


  4 March

4 March, 2022

Student Flood Appeal launched

We know that for many students in flood impacted areas, things as basic as power, internet and phone connectivity are not presently in place – either at all, or with any degree of reliability. Therefore, despite the general closure of the Lismore campus, we are establishing a facility in the Learning Centre, in which students who need this sort of access will be able to access their learning materials, internet, email and power for their devices. This facility will be available for students from Monday, March 7.

We also know that many of our students have been deeply impacted by this disaster and that some additional financial relief will make an enormous difference to them. For this reason we have established a Student Emergency Response Fund, which will be directed towards providing immediate and meaningful financial relief for those impacted. This is already operating and a number of students have already received help. I anticipate that demand for help from this fund will grow substantially in coming days, and I am committed to ensuring that all students who need help in this way get it, unburdened by red tape.

I have been asked by many people during the past week whether they could contribute financially to providing support for our students. This generosity of spirit is truly inspiring. For those who wish to help in this way, we have established an online giving portal for this purpose. Every dollar raised will be made available to students and I will report back to the University community in due course on any funds raised and precisely how these were expended.

We anticipate that there will be greater than ever need for counselling support in coming weeks and months, and have therefore acted to augment the capacity of our outstanding counselling and support team by making our Assure program available to students. Whilst our teams will continue to act as a point of first contact for students, it is comforting to know that we will be in a position to scale our services to meet heightened demand with the quality to which we are committed.

Beyond the measures I have set out above, we have also put in place practical adjustments to our procedures for seeking special consideration, particularly with respect to required documentation, and to a range of other processes associated with enrolment and withdrawal from units of study. Whilst our census dates will not change, we have ample flexibility to withdraw students post census dates where they have been impacted and our teams are ready to do this work with compassion and without undue administrative burden should the need arise.

Tyrone Carlin
Vice-Chancellor and President


  3 March

3 March, 2022

Classes resume March 7

Classes for Term 1/Session 1 will start as scheduled on Monday March 7.

COFFS HARBOUR - Coffs Harbour campus is unaffected by the flooding and will resume as planned.

GOLD COAST - Our intention is to open Gold Coast campus on Monday March 7 pending the safe access on the M1 Motorway in Tweed Shire where floodwaters had cut it this week.

LISMORE - Classes scheduled for Lismore campus will be delivered online for Term 1 (six weeks) and at least until April 15 (Easter) for Session 1 studies. Lismore campus is host to a large regional recovery centre, with more than 500 people accommodated there, and therefore the campus remains generally closed to normal operations.


  2 March

2 March, 2022

VC announces staff support packages

The Vice Chancellor Professor Tyrone Carlin has announced a series of measures that Southern Cross University staff can access if they have been affected by the floods.

These include additional special leave and other benefits. The package was outlined in a message to staff:

This week, we have each in our own ways witnessed some of the worst that nature can throw at us, and some of the best that we can bring by way of human response.

Now that we have put in place basic shelter for the hundreds in our immediate community who have been displaced and are for the moment calling our Lismore campus home, our thoughts are turning to additional matters.

In coming days, we will be working to put in place arrangements to do practical things that are core to our mission, like supporting local schools that have been destroyed to get back to delivering learning, and finding solutions to key supporting infrastructure for local businesses as they look to get back on their feet.

Today, though, I want each member of the SCU team to be clear about some immediate measures that are being put in place to support you.

First – Safety is paramount. If flooding, damaged roads or caring responsibilities mean that you are best situated at home – then please work from home. We will review the situation in another fortnight – but exercise your best judgement and please do keep in touch with your head of work unit.

Second – If you need to be at home undertaking cleaning or repairs, or you are able to be out in your community or on campus helping others with clean-up or recovery, you will have access to five days paid special leave. Please email hradvisor@scu.edu.au with your name and work unit to have this leave recorded.  I encourage everyone in the SCU community to help your community where you can and when you do, you will be supported with this additional leave. Naturally, this leave will be available to those who have already been helping so far this week.

Third – tragically, we know that a number of our colleagues have either lost or been forced to leave their homes for a period because of the flooding. For all staff in this position – whether continuing, fixed term or current casual – the University will provide an immediate assistance payment of $1000 to help. There is no form to fill, just call Sophie Andrews  0434 230 934, Eliza Walter on 0423 989 443, Katrina Crellin on 0481 157 851 or Rachael Henderson on 0423 478 485 who will coordinate this for you.

Fourth – we want to support those members of the SCU community who are helping others by offering them a place to stay whilst we work through the coming days and weeks. Therefore, we will make $500 in direct financial support available to each current SCU staff member who is sheltering another colleague, family or community member to help you just a little with the costs of making them as comfortable as you can. Call Sophie Andrews  0434 230 934, Eliza Walter on 0423 989 443, Katrina Crellin on 0481 157 851 or Rachael Henderson on 0423 478 485 who will coordinate this for you.

Finally, we are working with partner organisations to ensure that our Assure Employee Assistance Program is available to as many of our team who need it. Do not hesitate to reach out to our Assure support team on 1800 808 374, or text 0439 449 876 to set up a time to talk confidentially about any matters troubling you - health, family, work and life issues and be supported to find ways to cope.

Please stay safe, please stay in contact with each other and please, above all, continue to show the kindness and compassion that marks us out as a special community and that will make all the difference in coming days and weeks.


  28 February

28 February, 2022

Campus Closures at Gold Coast and Lismore

With the deteriorating extreme weather event across SE QLD and Northern NSW, we have decided to close both the Lismore and Gold Coast campuses effective immediately for the remainder of this week.

The flooding and road conditions are dangerous so please stay off the roads and stay safe.


  28 February

28 February, 2022

Vice Chancellor’s emergency update

Vice Chancellor Professor Tyrone Carlin briefed all Southern Cross University staff on the unfolding emergency on February 28:

As we witness the devastation unfolding around us, I wanted to provide each of you with a brief update.

Our Lismore and Gold Coast Campuses are closed for University operations, but an evacuation centre has been established at the Lismore campus.

 As I write we have more than five hundred community members sheltering at that centre, and it is anticipated that we will see more need in coming hours. We will make as much of our campus available as is required to meet that need, working closely with the SES, Police, a range of other key NSW Government agencies and the ADF, who are commencing operations now.

 The outpouring of care, kindness and concern that has emerged through this terrible event has been extraordinary – and speaks to the heart of who we are as a University and as a community.

Those members of the SCU team who have been able to make it safely to the Lismore campus and who are in the front line of coordinating of our immediate responses to providing shelter and warmth to those who need it are doing us all proud.

Frustratingly, most of us cannot be there right now, and we will need to continue to wait a little longer to do so until we can travel to and from our campus safely.

Our care for each other and those around us in coming days will help us to the other side. We have shown our resilience and resolve when tested by natural disasters previously and I know that we will do so again on this occasion.

We will be in regular communication with the University community in coming days, and we will, as we have done previously, work with purpose to play a role in our region’s recovery efforts.


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