Category Archives: Connecting@UC

Standing against racism

Kia ora koutou,

The University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA) and the University of Canterbury (UC) are committed to standing against racism in all its forms and creating an environment where everyone feels safe to actively participate. We are asking you to stand with us in saying that racism has no place on our campus, to be active in recognising racism and intentional in shaping a new future in which racism has no part. We are asking for your support as we work together to create a campus that is safe for all.

Last month, an international student studying at UC was verbally and physically assaulted on Ilam Fields while walking home at night. The student is in no doubt that this attack was racially motivated, involving racist slurs and physical violence from strangers.

Any information that could help identify the perpetrators of the attack is welcome. It happened on Saturday 6 August between 10pm-11pm on Ilam Fields. The perpetrators were two white males of average build, one with black hair and the other with ginger hair. If you witnessed this incident, you can contact the UCSA at help@ucsa.org.nz or contact the Police via their 105 number (quote incident no. P051480991).

We are writing this letter to build awareness because we can’t solve racism unless we acknowledge it is real with tangible consequences. For the student who was assaulted, the impact is deep and long lasting. They feel physically unsafe, demoralised and emotionally shaken. The adage that ‘words will never hurt me’ is untrue – verbal abuse which centres on a person’s identity can wound deeply, undermine self-confidence and destroy any sense of belonging, affecting wellbeing and resilience. 

Together, the UCSA and UC are reviewing our complaints processes to make them more accessible for people experiencing or witnessing racism, as well as exploring an informal reporting portal to help us build awareness and a culture of calling out racism, and other forms of prejudice and discrimination. 

Individually, if you witness racism or any form of discrimination we encourage you to stand with the person experiencing it in solidarity. Giving them your energy is a powerful and non-confrontational way to make a stand against racism and to help the person feel supported. 

If you want to learn about building a society free of racism, there are a lot of online resources. A helpful one is found here: https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race/topics/being-antiracist

If you have been affected by discrimination, the following services can help:

We know hearing about this incident will affect many of us but we hope it will galvanise us as a community to stand against racism.

Ngā mihi,

Mastine Dube, UCSA International Representative
Pierce Crowley, UCSA President
Rosa Hibbert-Schooner, Te Akatoki Tumuaki
Sacha McMeeking, Kaihautū Matua Pākākano | Executive Director – Māori, Pacific & Equity

Say Meremere

 

Meremere is the home of Te Kura Umanga | Business School and is named after the first star to rise in the evening during summer – also known as Venus. Meremere is a navigational star used traditionally in the early migration of iwi Māori across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Pacific Ocean. This star is also known by a variety of names including Kōpū Parapara, Meremere-tū-ahiahi, and Tāwera.

Click here to learn more pronunciations and more of the stories behind the names, or stay tuned for tomorrow’s building name of the day.

Say Whatukura

 

Whatukura is the name of the central atrium in the Ernest Rutherford building, which is the home of Te Kaupeka Pūtaiao | Faculty of Science. It is linked to the Ngāi Tahu narrative about Tāwhaki who ascended the heavens in the pursuit of knowledge. Whatukura is a term used to describe sacred stones that represent ancestral knowledge used in ceremonial practices by tohunga (experts). It is also used to describe the wise council of tohunga who reside in the topmost heaven.

Click here to learn more pronunciations and more of the stories behind the names, or stay tuned for tomorrow’s building name of the day.