Of all the tone deaf post March 15 reckons I have heard the recent reckon from Auckland University Vice Chancellor has to be one of the worst.
He has said that concerns raised by students about increased fascist activity on and around campus are utter nonsense and that students are just being too sensitive.
The University of Auckland says claims white supremacy is thriving on campus are “unsubstantiated”.
In a statement released on Friday, Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon said there was “absolutely no evidence of an increasing problem”.
He said the university was dealing with two separate issues confined to one faculty and involving a small group of students.
It was “being conflated by social media and a naturally enhanced sensitivity following the Christchurch mosque attacks”,” he said.
Take that snowflakes.
Students have responded with some anger. Again from Stuff:
In an open letter, a group of students said they were “frustrated at the trivialising language” used by McCutcheon in his statement.
“There is clear evidence that there is indeed a presence of white supremacist activity, and a number of students have experienced this very directly.
“We’re looking for leadership and proper engagement from the Vice-Chancellor. His public statement was the first acknowledgement of our complaints that we have seen, and he has not approached any of us personally.”
Some examples of the racist activity on campus dated back to six years ago, and no disciplinary action was taken, the letter said.
“Racist and white supremacist students have been allowed to remain on campus at the expense of others, who did not feel safe to work in the same spaces as them after having been harassed.”
The TEU has reminded McCutcheon about University management’s decision to allow the Auckland University Students European Association stall space at Orientation two years ago when they said this:
The Tertiary Education Union has joined with AUSA and other groups urging the vice-chancellor of Auckland University to step in and reverse a decision that allows a group promoting white supremacy to spread racist messages as part of orientation week.
The TEU is among a range of organisations appalled by a decision of the university’s Campus Life department to grant the ‘Auckland University European Students’ Association’ a stall in orientation week. Slogans and material posted on the group’s Facebook page strongly point towards an objective of promoting ‘white pride’.
The Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) has expressed its disappointment “that a potentially offensive group will be permitted to have a presence at the University of Auckland Orientation, despite serious student concerns of racist material.”
The decision by the Campus Life department to grant a stall is something afforded to groups who have not yet had a chance to affiliate with AUSA. TEU’s branch committee pointed out that this situation would not have occurred before the responsibility for approving stalls at orientation week was removed from AUSA hands in 2012.
Sandra Grey, TEU national president, said
“this illustrates the pitfalls of taking control of student affairs away from students. It is clear from the imagery used (now removed) on the group’s Facebook page that these are people that promote white supremacy. There is no place for a group such as this in the university community.
“Like the students’ association we respect the importance of free speech on our campuses, but ‘white pride’ promotes hate not free speech. On this ground, and for the safety of others, we urge the university management to step in. This ‘white pride’ group should not be allowed to have space at the university’s Clubs’ Expo.”
The TEU Council, Te Toi Ahurangi, and the University of Auckland TEU branch will be making representation to the Vice-Chancellor and Proctor to ask them to act to ensure the campus remains a safe and tolerant space.
Curwen Rolinson has some of the detail on the group in this facebook post. Basically it was an attempt to troll the student’s community with thinly veiled material supporting white supremacy with them then standing back and saying they cannot understand why everyone was so upset.
And recent graffiti using phrases from phrases the Christchurch killer had tweaked on his weapons is the sign of someone with a sick mind.
Clearly following recent events tolerance for this sort of behaviour is and should be very low. Which is why McCutcheon’s tone deaf comments are so hard to understand.