Student activism increased during the late 1960s across Australian universities, including at the ANU. Students demonstrated against war and for women's and Indigenous rights, among other issues. Protesters were passionate and sometimes clashed with police. In May 1971 more than 200 anti-Vietnam war and anti-apartheid demonstrators were arrested during the eight-day Aquarius Festival of University Arts, which was held on ANU campus.
Student activists have focused on higher education issues, most notably fees, but also course content and assessment. When students occupied the Chancelry in 1974, their demands included student input to course content and assessment, as well as the creation of a Women’s Studies department. The ANU Students' Association later produced Counter Course books which reviewed undergraduate courses offered across the university.
In recent years, ANU students have campaigned on diverse issues including in support of refugees, against sexual violence, and for fossil fuel divestment.
AIDEX demonstrators on campus. ANU Reporter, Vol 22 No 20, 11 Dec 1991, p. 3, < http://hdl.handle.net/1885/141924>
Editorial: Mindlessness rampant. Canberra Times, 22 May 1971, p. 2,
Foster, S & Varghese, M, The Making of The Australian National University, 2009, Australian National University Press, Canberra, <http://doi.org/10.22459/MANU.08.2009>
Letters: Controversy over student handbook. ANU Reporter, Vol 12, No 3, 10 Apr 1981, p. 4, <http://hdl.handle.net/1885/141713>
Oakman, D, Cupitt E, Hermans, V, Stone, M, Leong, J and ANU Heritage. Activism at the ANU, <https://anu75.anu.edu.au/protest-student-activism-anu>