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March 6, 2016 | by  | in News |
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Harassment is not fucking cool

At least ten people who live and work near the University of Otago have signed a petition to the Vice-Chancellor calling for action to be taken on harassment.

The letter read, “this is not another letter about couch burning or broken glass… I’m afraid it’s much more serious.”

It proceeded to list abuse which had been experienced near the university, which included “racist speech/slurs, street harassment towards women, and trans and homophobia.”

One of the letter’s co-signers, PhD student Emma Tumilty, told the Otago Daily Times last week, “what upsets us most was this aggression towards others, [towards] women, or people who are slightly different—hurling bottles and abuse at people as they pass.”

One ex-student told media a van load of men shouted at her, “if your dog wasn’t in your car I’d rape you,” at 5:30pm on a weeknight.

Aside from their own personal safety, a main concern of those speaking out is the way such behaviour normalises rape culture when not properly addressed.

Victoria University has a webpage dedicated to sexual violence awareness which states that sexual harassment of any kind undermines safety and respect, and is a breach of the university’s Student Conduct Statute.

Students experiencing harassment can contact Student Interest and Disputes Resolution Advisor Yvonne Oldfield to seek advice and support on (04) 463 5023.

 

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:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this