Security boost for University of Newcastle after student attacked

UNDER SURVEILLANCE: The Ring Road intersection where Abdullah Qaiser, 21, was attacked last Saturday night by a group of people. Police are investigating the attack and security patrols have increased. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
UNDER SURVEILLANCE: The Ring Road intersection where Abdullah Qaiser, 21, was attacked last Saturday night by a group of people. Police are investigating the attack and security patrols have increased. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SECURITY patrols at the University of Newcastle have been increased since an attack on an international student at the Callaghan campus that “saddened and appalled” the entire community, vice-chancellor Caroline McMillen has confirmed. 

The vice-chancellor told colleagues in an email that the institution was doing “everything we can to support the student and his peers” using its full range of services, police resources and native language assistance. 

That includes working with the Pakistrani Consul General to reassure international students in the wake of a violent attack against a student at Callaghan last week. 

The Newcastle Herald reported on Tuesday that engineering student Abdullah Qaiser, 21, had his nose smashed by a man wearing a knuckle duster after his car was stopped on the bushland university campus’ Ring Road last Saturday night. 

His phone was stolen before he drove to the campus gym for assistance. 

“The incident that occurred at our Callaghan Campus on Saturday, in which a young man was assaulted, has saddened and appalled our entire community,” Ms McMillen said.

“Understandably this incident has been deeply felt by the Pakistani community here in Newcastle.

“We are working with the Pakistani Consul General to communicate with our Pakistani students in their native language.

“We are also speaking directly with the executives of the University of Newcastle Student Association of Pakistan to hear their concerns and provide them with the information and support that they need.”

The university has also stepped up its general campus security measures since the incident was reported, Ms McMillen said. 

“In light of the incident, we immediately increased security patrols,” she said.

“We are also continuing to invest in security infrastructure, such as our planned expansion of CCTV and emergency help points, as well as our ongoing program of enhanced and increased lighting on pathways around campus.”

Regarding the incident itself, Ms McMillen said the university was offering any help it could to the authorities seeking to find the people involved in the attack. 

“We are doing everything we can to support the NSW Police with their ongoing investigation to find those responsible,” she said. 

Police said earlier this week they did not believe the incident was initially racially motivated. The campus has previously been the venue for violent incidents including an 18-year-old robbed at knifepoint leaving Warabrook station in June.