THE University of Newcastle has backed students and staff taking part in a strike for climate action on September 20.
Vice Chancellor Alex Zelinsky has joined other NSW university heads supporting the strike, which he described as a "grassroots movement of young people across the globe" that was "both sobering and inspiring".
"Our university stands in full support of climate action," he said in an email to staff after an approach by student and staff groups.
"I appreciate your passion for this important issue.
"My view is that participation in the climate strike and other actions is a matter of individual conscience. Our university community is diverse and I know that our staff and students have many causes which are important to them. I also understand the desire to take action in support of these actions.
"The university will not prevent staff or students from attending this or similar events."
Professor Zelinsky advised staff to seek approval to take leave for the event and take "appropriate measures" to limit the impact on teaching, research and professional responsibilities.
The university in late 2018 announced it would source all its energy needs from renewables from January 1, 2020 and aimed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.
Newcastle Branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) welcomed Professor Zelinsky's support.
University of Newcastle staff were "acutely aware we are in the midst of a climate emergency", said NSW secretary of the NTEU, Michael Thomson.
"We are pleased to see the University of Newcastle supporting its staff in participating in the Global Climate Strike.
"The university's stance is largely consistent with that of other institutions, including Macquarie University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney, and the University of Technology, Sydney."
Ms Ash McIntyre, President of the Newcastle University Postgraduate Students Association president Ash McIntyre said it was wonderful seeing the community coming together to support students campaigning for climate change action.
"Students having such a strong voice within that community gives real hope for a sustainable future," Ms McIntyre said.
Global Climate Strike events are planned near each of the University's main campuses in Newcastle, the Central Coast, Port Macquarie and Sydney.
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