CORRECTION: In a statement provided to Craccum on Thursday 29 September, the University of Auckland has stated that the letter circulating on social media, purportedly from the Vice-Chancellor, was FALSIFIED.
The matter has not been escalated to the Immigration Department, but rather internally to the University’s Office for the Proctor for consideration on whether the Student Code of Conduct has been breached.
Allegations of hate speech have been brought against a member of the University of Auckland’s Bioengineering department by the Iranian diaspora community on Twitter.
On 24 September, a user tweeted: “@AucklandUni: are you aware that your employee/researcher is instructing ppl on Twitter to send IRCG intel on Iranians that are bravely protesting brutal oppression… Is this the image that you want your university to project?”
The user attached screenshots of the accused, who had publicly stated their support of the Iranian militia. One user tweeted at the New Zealand police, stating “This is an act of terrorism. Are you watching this?”
The IRCG, or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is a militia formed after the Iranian revolution of 1979, whose primary purpose is to defend Iran’s authoritarian regime.
Currently, the IRCG are active in suppressing widespread protests being held in Iran following the death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, who was accused of wearing the hijab improperly and died while in police custody.
Following several complaints to the University of Auckland, a Supervisory Board Meeting was held with the accused. In an email correspondence, the University of Auckland states the case has been sent to the Immigration Department for review.
It adds that until a decision by the Immigration Department is reached, the accused will be suspended from participating in all University activity.
One Iranian-Kiwi UoA alumnus said, “I don’t think [the accused] should be on campus”, citing the serious consequences of a report to the IRCG.
“My people are dying right now just to show the world what we live through, what they do to us [while we fight] for basic dignity.
“Often it feels like we die in vain, and our blood is cheap.
“For non-Iranians, just appreciate that we are going through a lot right now, and hold space for that. Be a microphone for us. Share, stay informed, be a platform for us.
“I hope this horrific situation might help some of those [who are] more privileged [to] understand what it is we flee from… and re-evaluate how [we] look at immigration and refugee policies.”