Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Removal of Auckland University Club Threatens Free Speech

Removal of Student Club at Auckland University Threatens Free Speech

Prolife Auckland announced today at a student forum its determination to fight a renewed attempt by Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) to disaffiliate them. An online referendum is to occur next week proposing the motion: "Should AUSA disaffiliate the Pro Life Club and ban any clubs with similar ideology from affiliating in the future?"

“This referendum is an attempt to punish the exercise of free speech on campus,” says ProLife Auckland spokesperson Francesca Yuen. “The free exchange of ideas is an integral part of academia; any attempt to repress that deserves condemnation.”

Disaffiliation from AUSA will entail losing access to material services that AUSA provides. Prolife Auckland also views disaffiliation as symbolically denying recognition by the student body of the ideals that the club holds dear - a culture that respects life at any and all stages.

Yuen also expresses concerns about due process. “When asked, AUSA could not disclose the identity of the individual who submitted the proposal or the nature of the allegations being made about us. Furthermore, we were provided with less than a week’s notice of the forum. This is a violation of principles of natural justice.”

“We were required to defend our affiliation today with limited information of the source and scope of accusations against the club. The person who submitted the motion did not even appear at the student forum to substantiate the grounds of their motion. Why is AUSA facilitating this faceless attack on our club?”

“We have always been committed to open and civil debate, yet AUSA constantly attempts to silence our views. It is not the first attempt to ban our club: an SGM in 2012 and a fizzled disaffiliation attempt in 2016 make this the third such attempt in five years. No other group has received the same level of continued scrutiny and protest as ours on campus.”

AUSA is aware of the irregularity in this referendum and has engaged a lawyer to comment on its legality. It is interesting that they have gone ahead with the proceedings while still questioning whether they are in fact legal.

Issues raised at the forum included concern about the vague phrasing of the motion, and the slippery precedent it sets for silencing clubs with similar stances.

“We are proud to have defended today not only our rights but the rights of other clubs which challenge prevailing orthodoxy on campus,” Yuen concluded.

The referendum is to take place next week from Monday 21st August to Friday 25th August.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland