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September 24, 2007 | by  | in News |
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A-Team accused of racism by VUWSA officer

VUWSA’s Environmental Officer has accused members of the A-Team of racism following an argument over election postering.

Tushara Kodikara alleges the A-Team’s Presidential candidate Lukas Schroeter and Treasurer candidate Joshua O’Rourke both called him a “stupid monkey”, which he believes was meant in a racial context.

Kodikara says the incident took place when two A-Team candidates attempted to poster over Presidential candidate and current Education Vice President Joel Cosgrove’s election posters.

Kodikara says he told the A-Team members to put up their posters elsewhere, rather than over the top of Cosgrove’s. When asked what he would do about it, Kodikara ripped up the A-Team’s posters to prevent them putting them up.

At this point, he says O’Rourke called him “a stupid monkey”.

O’Rourke could not be contacted for comment. Kodikara alleges that when he questioned Schroeter about O’Rourke’s comments, Schroeter responded “well you are a stupid monkey.”

However, Schroeter told Salient he had said Kodikara was “behaving like a monkey”, and that the comment was not meant in a racial context. He says he and O’Rourke later apologised to Kodikara.

President Geoff Hayward, who is running for re-election, told Salient that he had overheard Schroeter’s comment, and believes it was meant in a racial context.

Hayward says: “in these types of situations it’s not the person who says it that needs to determine whether or not it’s racist, it’s everyone else who hears it. If I was Tush and put in his shoes I’d feel like it was a racist comment.

“I know that Lukas’ recollection of what he said is different to mine. I think there’s a whole heap of finger-pointing during election campaigns when there’s a process for this in the University and even if there wasn’t an election on this would still be unacceptable behaviour and the University should be left to investigate the matter should Tush or someone else want to lay a complaint.”

Kodikara says he intends to make a formal complaint to the University about the comments.

Since the incident, satirical posters have appeared reading “Don’t vote for the natives, vote for the A-Team!!!!” with an image found through a Google image search for ‘racist picture’, a source told Salient.

A-Team Queer Rights Officer candidate Sam Archer also raised eyebrows after he listed ‘trannies’ as a fear of his on his Bebo page. Archer joined UniQ an hour before nominations for the election closed – what he has described on Salient’s website as the result of “a convenient double coincidents (sic) between The A-Team and myself Monday last week.”

Regarding his ‘fear’ listed on his Bebo page, Archer later posted on the Salient website: “That was a personal joke, unfortunately you weren’t there, so you wouldn’t understand…

it is loosely based around a long conversation that I had with a group of transexuals on Vivian St. I’ll say no more on the matter, because it really isn’t your business.”

Despite numerous attempts to contact Archer, he could not be reached before time of press.

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About the Author ()

With her take-no-prisoners, kick-ass attitude, former News Editor Laura McQuillan adequately makes up for her lack of stature. Roaming the corridors (and underground tunnels) of the University by day, and hunting vampires and Nazi war criminals by night, McQuillan will stop at nothing to bring you the freshest news.

Comments (26)

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  1. blogette says:

    what the fuck is the university going to do about It???!!!
    he hasn’t broken anylaws we
    have free speech here

  2. Graeme Edgeler says:

    blogette – university discipline regulations (the same ones that deal with plagiarism etc.) prohibit racial taunting and other bullying-type behaviour. If this is a serious complaint, then the University has the power to do something about it…

  3. Samantha says:

    WOW!
    The left, especially Young Labour are really out to hurt the A-Team, not suprisingly though. It is obviously not enough to have done the smear posters of Lukas, Anna and Mike calling them a**holes, and Anna a “whore” (posters which were printed in Labour Head office as a YL member told me), they also tried to cause further emotional stress to the team by posting that Anna was dead (note to anyone in Labour never leave the party otherwise you have to put up with this) and now they are calling the team racist. I passed by this incident and Tush really was “acting like a monkey” – he ripped the posters off the guys putting them up and stomped on them, obviously it is convenient that they can use it to accuse the team of racism, however the same statement could have been made to anyone behaving in such a manner.

    Love that Salient has a number of articles this week attempting to demean the A-Team, as if last week’s editorial and articles weren’t enough. Got to love repsonsible and unbiased media.

  4. Michael Oliver says:

    Yeah “left”. Fuck that relative direction. Making good, honest, hard working people avoid directions like “up” and, uh, “other left.” Just who the fuck does this “left” think he is?

    Or something.

    Anyway, let’s look at it from both perspectives: In the red corner, weighing in at about as much as racial indignation in a student body election can weigh, is the argument that cries “RACISM!” against two members of the A-Team for referring to Tushara Kodikara as a “monkey.”

    And in the blue corner, weighing in just about everything that VUWSA spends money on, is the A-Team-flavoured argument that says that the “monkey” remark was in fact a reference to Kodikara’s hilariously exuberant actions, not his skin colour.

    So, here we have it, readers: A thoughtless racial dig vs. Perhaps the worst insult any upstanding human being could possibly wield on the cuff. I don’t know what’s worse, to be honest.

  5. blogette says:

    edgeler – what a disgrace to free speech

  6. blogette says:

    $10 kodikara won’t do shit, its just a nice line “i’m going to make a complaint” for another week of biased salient coverage

  7. ron "i don't even support free market solutions to genocide" paul says:

    they also tried to cause further emotional stress to the team by posting that Anna was dead (note to anyone in Labour never leave the party otherwise you have to put up with this)

    where’s your evidence someone in young labour tried to do this?

  8. Michelle says:

    Well Samatha, I also walked passed this incident. Tushara did not stomp on any posters, and Joshua did call Tushara a stupid monkey. I was shocked at this. This article is a true reflection of what happened. I belive that ‘Samatha’ is really a A-Team member/ supporter prentending to be a witness.

  9. blogette says:

    Michelle: I believe that you are really a Young Labout acolyte.

  10. MC says:

    Has Tushara apologised for destroying campaign material? Does he think it is responsible to deny freedom of speech just because it is his opponents he is dealing with? It is an extremely serious thing to rip down someones posters. Sure they may get on your goat but that is no reason or justification for doing so.

    Had he done this to something I was putting up I would have been pretty angry myself. While I don’t think I would have called him a monkey (and if I did it wouldn’t be meant in a racial context – more in a I’m-so-pissed-off-at-you-context) I think words like idiot and wanker would have sprung forth.

  11. There are many conflicting acounts of the incident, which make it difficult to determine what happened. The A-Team should have at least apoligised (if they haven’t done so) to Kodikara for the comment. The impression I gather is that the incident is being used for political purposes to smear the A-Team. More serious perhaps is the posters plastered all over campus, which were done anonymously (thus more closely resembling the Exclusive brethren than anything the A-Team has done) labbeling Anna Duggan a “whore” something that was clearly meant in a sexist context. If Kodikara makes a complaint to the university about the “monkey” incident, Duggan should do so about the “whore” posters.

  12. I might also add those anonymous posters included ones accusing the A-Team of “rich white elitism”, the “white” part clearly in a rascist context, and false claims about the A-Team wanting to get rid of Salient and Student Job Search, which could involve breeches of Defamation laws.

  13. harry says:

    Nicholas, you miss the point. Two A-Team members did in fact call Tushara a stupid monkey. Of cause they will lie about it now. It is not a smear campaign. They used it in a racist context. Students have right to know that members of the A-Team did this. There is a big difference using the word white to describe the A-Team (which I do believe is not racist, as they are a group of whites) and calling Tushara a stupid monkey.

  14. blogette@ says:

    What if he is a stupid monkey?

  15. blogette@ says:

    you know, literally a baboon?

  16. And what about blogette? You seem like a real idiot, a fool, are stupid git that hides behind a fake name. I dare you to go to Tush’s face and say that, outside of uni, I bet you have not got the guts.

  17. ” Two A-Team members did in fact call Tushara a stupid monkey” That is not disputed, what is disputed is the circumstances in which it was used, and wether or not it was used in a racial context.
    “Of cause they will lie about it now” How do I know it is Lukas and O’Rourke who are lying and not Hayward and Kodikara? What appears to be the case for me, is the incident is minor, and clearly being used for political purposes.

    “There is a big difference using the word white to describe the A-Team (which I do believe is not racist, as they are a group of whites) and calling Tushara a stupid monkey.”
    Calling the A-Team “rich, white elitism” is not much different to refering to a black person as a “stupid black idiot”. If it is appropriate to use the term “white” to describe the A-Team in a lsit of negative descriptions on the grounds that most if not all are white, then it is appropriate to use the term “black” in a lsit of negative terms to describe a black person, as in ithe example above.

  18. Tucker Chan says:

    362 years of slavery and all I got was this lousy tshirt

  19. Nick: team that ‘white’ with some form of racial slur used against white people (I don’t even know any), and you’ll see the effect the word ‘monkey’ has on someone who isn’t white.

    Furthermore, do you really believe, that if the incident is completely true as Tush and Geoff have alleged, that it is ‘minor’? I for one believe racism isn’t a minor issue and should not be treated as such. However, we may never ever know the truth.

  20. Phil McCracken says:

    Samantha The A-Team had been postering over other candidates posters and while they had been asked politely to stop doing this—they continued to do so. Tush I believe was angered by this and when they asked him what he was going to do about them continuing to do so he acted, be it in anger.

    As for the distress they were caused by any young labour campaign I can’t say I pitty them at all. After all they attacked VUWSA through videos and phamplets containing much factual inaccuracy. I’m sure you all know what goes around comes around in this game and it’s a little weak to say their feelings were hurt by any labour campaign.

    I believe Tush has every right to lay a complaint under the statute of conduct and should the university act on it it’s entirely up to them. Bigotry of any kind is unacceptable.

  21. Even if the incident occured as Tush and Geoff described it, I don’t see it as very major. It was only one word which may have been used inapropriately without thinking. I’ve been called plenty of derogatory things before. I do however think they shouldn’t have used the word monkey.

  22. blogette@ says:

    laura come on thats pathetic
    you are part of the vendetta against the a-team

  23. Felicia Jollygoodfellow says:

    blogette is simply the a-team’s loyal muppet

  24. Blogette: Earlier this year, you may have said I had a vendetta against the current exec. I’ll admit I am cynical towards ANY student politicians, but I don’t use Salient’s news section to express a ‘vendetta’ against anybody.

  25. Rabid Pragmatic Centrist says:

    haha you’re fucked now

  26. Laura McQuillan says:

    Who, me?

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