Students Protest Against Adelaide Uni Ties With Taib
Australian Students Protest Against Their University’s Ties with Taib
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,
BMF would like to draw your attention to a recent campaign that has been launched by students at Adelaide University who are calling for the Taib Mahmud Court at their University to be changed name. Today, the students have held a rally to get the attention of their university and the public for their demand.
Lizzie Taylor, one of the organizers of the rally and a member of the South Australian Student Environment Network has explained the purpose of the rally: "We hope that by students standing up against Taib Mahmud we have and will continue to raise awareness about who he is and why the University should not honour this man with a courtyard. We refuse to accept that our education is in any way funded by a man who is responsible for human rights abuses in Sarawak as well as the total obliteration of the native forests in Sarawak and through his family network company Ta Ann in our very own beautiful Tasmania".
The Chief Minister of Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud, is the chief culprit for the destructive logging of over 90% of Sarawak's formerly pristine rainforests and for the marginalization of the state's largely indigenous population.
Taib made his first donation to the university in 1987, six years after he became Chief Minister. Taib was later awarded an honary doctorate from Adelaide University in 1994 after making a significant donation to the institution. In 2001, Taib donated $300,000 - more than double his annual salary - to the University. In 2008, Adelaide University named a key space on the University premises the "Taib Mahmud Court" In recent years, Vice Chancellor and President James McWha has thanked Taib for his "personal generosity" that "has continued in many ways over the years".
Yasmin Martin, Ethno-Cultural Officer of Adelaide University Student Representative Council, has expressed the students’ refusal to accept their university’s involvement with Taib: “Today’s rally was a significant step in making the University of Adelaide administration recognize that students will not support their relationship with Taib Mahmud. The values and behavior of Taib Mahmud do not align with the values of a higher learning institution like the University of Adelaide, and the University must urgently disassociate itself from this man. There are several notable graduates of the University that, unlike Taib Mahmud, have done great things. We will continue our campaign until our concerns are addressed and the courtyard is renamed after someone more deserving of the honour."
Your BMF Team