Southern Cross University shares bushfire grief

Published 7 January 2020
Burned and smoking bush after fire

Southern Cross University shares the national and international grief over the devastating Australian bushfires. More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed by 200 fires burning in the states of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker said the University’s sympathies were with the families of the people killed by the fires.

“And to see video of thousands of people being evacuated is confronting,” he said. “Our condolences go to all the communities impacted, including those still facing extreme conditions and further threats."

“The heroism and dedication of volunteer firefighters, members of police and emergency services and local rescue personnel has been just incredible. As a university community we pay tribute to their life-saving efforts." 

“We also commit our support to those Southern Cross staff, students and alumni who are volunteering during this unprecedented crisis, in areas as wide-ranging as surf rescue, army reserve and St John’s Ambulance. We are so proud of all of them.”

Professor Shoemaker said the main Southern Cross campuses at Lismore and Coffs Harbour in NSW and Gold Coast in Queensland were largely unaffected by the most recent fires. “But we do have branch campuses in Sydney and Melbourne; cities which have been covered by thick smoke in recent weeks. And of course we have some 6,000 online students from all over Australia and many of them will have been affected.”

Professor Shoemaker said the first priority for any Southern Cross student should be to stay safe. “We will deal with any issues around study loads and assessments when the immediate danger passes,” he said.

Bushfire information:

Student support information:

  • Southern Cross University offers a free counselling service to all students in person, by phone, Zoom/Skype or email.
  • Find out more: www.scu.edu.au/current-students/services-and-support/counselling
  • The University also provides After-hours Crisis Counselling from 5pm – 9am weekdays, and 24 hrs weekends and public holidays. Phone 1300 782 676 or SMS 0488 884 143 (text only).

Media contact: Media Office scumedia@scu.edu.au