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May 6, 2019 | by  | in News |
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Far Right Activity at University of Auckland

Reports have surfaced of increased presence of Far Right activists at the University of Auckland. These students seem to have stemmed from the European Students Association at the university, which has since disbanded amongst allegations of white supremacy.

Auckland University PhD student Ti remarked to Salient, “There’s been a slow-building increase in white supremacist presence at the University of Auckland (UoA) for the past two or three years.”

“One of the common experiences of being at UoA’s city campus is, you will see—fairly regularly—white supremacist posters, stickers, and chalk graffiti.”

These targeted forms of propaganda often appeal directly to those with far-right beliefs, using communication techniques specific to the Far Right.

“A lot of the time it might be quite subtle, it might be in coded language, which will directly appeal to other white supremacists, or [in] coded language, directly attacking those most affected by it,” commented Ti.

The University of Auckland denied the reports of Far Right activity, calling them “utter nonsense”, forcing some students to seek support elsewhere.

“There is a real, palpable fear on campus. I know of students who are considering—or have, in fact, dropped out [of] their studies. People don’t want to come to class, because they don’t want to sit in a class in which racist or white supremacist views are espoused, and nothing happens, and it’s just accepted.”

“This kind of political ideology is inherently violent,” noted postgraduate student Rebecca*.

 

“In terms of behaviour, these students tend to be very intimidating, threatening, and particularly aggressive to women and minorities.”

“I’ve had to face and confront that in my workspace. It’s made me feel very unsafe and uncomfortable, and has made me not want to come to campus.”

Rebecca suggested that the university reassess their entire complaints process.

“Other institutions, businesses, universities—as well as research—indicate that this is not how [the university] should handle it, as it only serves to re-victimise individuals,” she said.

The university’s current policy on these Far Right beliefs are alleged to be merely a process of minimisation, rather than directly addressing them.

The Auckland University Students Association (AUSA) held a “Hui against Hate and Discrimination” on May 1 to address concerns.

 

“The purpose of this Hui is to hear from any students and staff who wish to share their experiences of bullying, harassment and discrimination,” AUSA stated in a social media post last Wednesday.

 

“[It is] about hearing from students who have faced or witnessed any kind of prejudice. We all agree to be respectful to others in our contributions and when listening to those contributing.”

 

VUWSA commented to ^Salient on the precautions in place at Victoria, stating, “there’s not a lot we can do at VUWSA except support our diverse community and stand up against racism and white supremacy.”

 

“We encourage Victoria Clubs to implement a plan to deter fascists and other alt right groups from festering within the student community,” said President Tamatha Paul.

 

One solution seems clear to Paul: “We need to be strong and proactive.”

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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