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May 6, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Threatening Lettering

The University of Canterbury’s student magazine, Canta, is defending its decision to publish a threatening letter to parents and police alike.

The anonymous letter, published on 20 March, contains a rant about aspects of university life, including students who wear camouflage to school. Police requested the name of the letter-writer after a complaint from a student’s parent. Their request was declined by the University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA), who cited privacy grounds.

The letter reads: “The above things are slowly transforming me from a Gandhi-like character to the kind of guy who is going to walk into James Hight [the University Library] one day with a fully-loaded automatic assault rifle and unload my anger into you”.

Police say the letter was a response to a request from Canta for more provocative content, something the magazine addressed in a statement posted to their website.

“The palpability and/or appropriateness of Canta content is subjective. As a student magazine Canta seeks to reflect student culture, inspire debate, and inform our students.”

The threat only came to the attention of the University, and subsequently Police, when a concerned mother complained to the University.

Police university liaison officer Senior Constable Ken Carter said he understands how people could feel anxious, especially given recent events like the Boston bombing. However, he was confident there was no threat to the University after talking to the letter-writer, who made themselves known to police on the advice of UCSA.

“He was very apologetic for writing the letter. He had no understanding of the repercussions it would cause,” said Carter.

Last week, Salient received an identical letter mentioning a threat to Rankine Brown, the Victoria library. The decision was made not to publish the letter as the author did not provide contact details.

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