NZUSA Media Release – 22 August 2012
Praise for move to ensure students with refugee backgrounds are covered by Equity Policy
The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has praised the University of Auckland for broadening its Equity Policy to make provision for students and staff from refugee backgrounds.
“This is a responsible move by the University of Auckland – and one that sets a standard for all tertiary education institutions to follow,” said Pete Hodkinson, NZUSA President.
“As defined by the University of Auckland, equity is about creating just and fair conditions that enable people to succeed, and that lead to measurable outcomes such as eliminating unjust disparities. One of the undeniable strengths derived directly from the current governance of our universities is this ability to respond to the needs and human rights of all students.
“Recognising the equity needs of students with a refugee background is the first step to providing them with more support. At the same time as they seek to study and learn successfully they also have multiple issues to overcome. Not only are they new to New Zealand, they are also coming to terms with the often unspeakable hardships of being dislocated from their home countries”.
In addition to students and staff from refugee backgrounds, equity groups that the University of Auckland Equity Policy makes provision to establish and monitor equity requirements for include: students from non-English speaking backgrounds; students from rural areas; mature-age students; older employees; male students in Education and Nursing; and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) staff and students.
Furthermore the Equity Policy commits to the development of programmes for Māori staff and students; Pacific staff and students; staff and students with disabilities and impairments; women students in certain disciplines; students from low socio-economic backgrounds; ethnic group staff; academic women; academic and professional staff women in senior positions; professional staff; staff with family/carer responsibilities; part-time, temporary and casual staff.
NZUSA considers the breadth of this Equity Policy should be reflected in the Government’s Tertiary Education Strategy, as befitting its recognition by New Zealand’s internationally best regarded tertiary institution.