Kia tika, kia pono, kia aroha – doing what is right with integrity and empathy

The University of Canterbury (UC) has been made aware of a racist video circulating on social media that was posted in a forum associated with Uni Hall.  The person making the racist comments is not a UC student and, accordingly, there are no formal processes we can initiate to address the nature and impact of the video.

We can however take this as a moment to reflect on racism, bias and discrimination in all their forms. Racism, like sexism, originates from a belief that people of a particular community are ‘less than’: less valuable, less intelligent or otherwise having lesser dignity and worth. The damage of racism is therefore both the direct injury to people who have experienced a form of verbal violence that ultimately impeaches their humanity, as well as to the cohesion and trust within our community. While we can be thankful that the type of overt racism in this video, which is perhaps verging on hate speech, is now socially unacceptable and will be deplored by many, this video is a reminder that racism is still present in our society.

The University is committed to overcoming racism and other forms of discrimination, all of which cause harm to the people experiencing them. Our policies prohibit discrimination, and we have a range of processes to address instances of racism, sexism or other discrimination. It will however take more than policy to make our UC community free from the harms of racism, harassment and discrimination.

In regard to this video, we encourage members of our community to report it to the platform and to not amplify the harm by resharing it. More broadly, if you are interested in exploring how we can overcome racism, the NZ Human Rights Commission supported the ‘Give Nothing to Racism’ campaign that has a number of accessible videos available online. 

UC is committed to supporting equity and diversity in our community and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all students and staff. UC has help available that we encourage members of our community to access through our support services, including Te Waka Pākākano | Office of Māori, Pacific and Equity.

Kia tika, kia pono, kia aroha – doing what is right with integrity and empathy

Sacha McMeeking
Executive Director Māori, Pacific and Equity

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