Australian National University Chancellor Julie Bishop has revealed her anger at discovering critical security information was not passed onto the university ahead of a an alleged violent rampage on campus.
Alex Ophel, 24, has been charged with attempted murder after he allegedly stabbed two female students multiple times before assaulting two male students at ANU’s main campus just before 3pm on Monday.
The two female students remain in a serious condition in hospital.
It took campus security just four minutes to respond to the attack and 11 minutes to get the alleged offender into custody.
The university has since claimed that authorities had knowledge that the alleged offender was in the vicinity of the campus but did not inform them, preventing them from preparing for the attack.
“I was so angry that there was relevant information that was not passed on to the university,” Ms Bishop told Today on Thursday morning.
She said if the university had been informed that the alleged offender was about to be in the vicinity of the campus, they could have increased their security in preparation.
“Had we been informed by the relevant authorities that there was the possibility that this person could be in the vicinity of our campus, or could enter our campus,” she said.
“We could have increased our security and potentially have prevented the attacks from occurring,” she said.
There were twelve security guards and two parole cars on duty at the time of the incident.
The former foreign minister went on to to say she was “devastated” when she was informed of the alleged stabbings.
“I was first devastated to learn of the attacks, and of course greatly concerned for the wellbeing of our students and our staff,” she said.
“It is a very traumatic incident and we are a very small and close knit community.”
The ACT government has announced a review into the incident, and Ms Bishop is calling on them to provide answers as to why vital information was not provided to the university.
“We would like that review to address why our university was not informed of an increased threat,” she said.
Mr Ophel will return to court on October 17.
ANU has been contacted for further comment.