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‘We are one whānau’ – Lincoln student president

The Lincoln University community is reeling from last Friday’s devastating terror attacks in Christchurch and offering as much support and solace as possible to students, staff, alumni, partners and friends.

Sadly, the university is likely to have lost members of its whānau. Further details will be provided when all victims have been formally identified.

A memorial service was held yesterday on campus, with Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Bruce McKenzie expressing his shock and sorrow at the apparent passing of members of the Lincoln family.

“In my 39 years in New Zealand and my 37 years at Lincoln University, I never considered that one day I might be offering my Lincoln whānau words of comfort a few days after a senseless attack on my family,” he said.

“The Lincoln University community truly is a big family. We love each other, we always look after each other and we embrace our diversity and many cultures. When I first came to Lincoln, I was welcomed with open arms.

“This is absolutely not the New Zealand that I know and love.”

Professor McKenzie directly addressed Lincoln University’s Muslim community, asserting that they could count on the support and love of the entire Lincoln family.

“We stand right next to you,” he said. “We value you on our campus for your knowledge, experience, hard work, friendship, culture and religion. Your presence here makes our campus stronger.”

Lincoln University Students’ Association President Kristy Havill also spoke to the crowd, directing a message specifically to students.

“To us, you are not just students, but you are our family. We are all one whānau,” she said.

“He thought he could break us, divide us, and drive a wedge between us. But he was wrong. He doesn’t know who we are as Kiwis, as residents of Canterbury. Earthquakes couldn’t defeat us and this won’t either.

“On this day, remember those we have lost and stand together as students of Lincoln University. It’s not my Lincoln, it’s not your Lincoln, it’s our Lincoln.”

The university is providing support to all who may need it, with trained counsellors at the Student Health Centre, a dedicated team of Chaplains, drop-in sessions for students and Employee Assistance Programme services for staff.

Those who require help can also email a Lincoln-based support service and receive immediate guidance.

A 24-hour security patrol remains in operation on the Lincoln campus to ensure the safety of students and staff.

For those who would like to donate to the Lincoln University Muslim Association, please contact the Lincoln University Students’ Association President, Kristy Havill at president@lusa.org.nz

If members of the community have any queries or wish to offer support, they should email LUSupport@lincoln.ac.nz.

A Give A Little Page is also being set up. Details will be available on the Lincoln University website.


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