Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon says claims of white supremacists on university grounds are utter nonsense.
The statement comes after NZ Herald, the Spinoff and Radio NZ published articles alleging there has been an uptick in white supremacist rhetoric on the university’s campus. The articles, which drew their information from interviews with students, claim the university has failed to appropriately address a number of white supremacist-related incidents which occurred in the aftermath of the Christchurch shootings.
McCutcheon denies these claims. In a press release published on the university’s website, the Vice-Chancellor said, while there had been “two separate [white supremacy-related] issues confined to one faculty and involving a small group of students”, “there is absolutely no evidence of an increasing problem” on campus. The press release went on to say the university had investigated reports of fascist graffiti and posters, and had found there was “no increase in the incidents of such material on campus”.
Craccum has been made aware of a series of incidents related to white supremacy which occured on university grounds. This is what we know so far:
- In March of this year, a Craccum writer came across posters in Albert Park which led onlookers to a white supremacist website. That same week, students on social media reported finding similar posters scattered throughout the campus.
- Earlier this month, students on social media reported finding swastikas and other neo-nazi graffiti on university grounds. The students claimed to have reported it to management for cleaning – but a press statement released by the university suggests they have not received such a report, or, if they did, they were not convinced of its authenticity.
Following these reports, a petition was made to the university to do more to suppress racist rhetoric on campus.
Last week, a formal complaint was laid against one student who was accused of repeatedly harassing other students in a faculty learning area. Craccum has heard conflicting reports over what was contained in the complaint. By one account, those who laid the complaint accused the student of repeatedly threatening them with physical violence, intimidating them, and making white supremacist and neo-nazi comments. By another account, those who laid the complaint accused the student of holding fascist views, and of making inappropriate comments. Craccum has been unable to verify the authenticity of either account. The university says it is investigating the claims. While they do so, the student has been allowed to remain on campus.