20 Mar 2017

Auckland Uni investigates racist posters

6:00 pm on 20 March 2017

Posters depicting what are being described as white supremacist views have been plastered across Auckland University's central campus.

The posters were put up across the university's city campus.

The posters were put up across the university's city campus. Photo: Screenshot / Western Guard

A group called the Western Guard has put up posters asking people to "join the fight" against what it calls "white genocide", while its website said no "homosexuals, transsexuals or any other form of mental illness" were allowed to join.

Auckland University Students Association president Will Matthews said the slogans typically aligned with white supremacist sentiments and the requirements to join were appalling.

"We have looked into it and we're pretty confident that this doesn't represent any kind of group that are organising on campus, more just a few angry students with fringe views who have decided to plaster those views all over the university," Mr Matthews said.

Groups like that were gaining confidence and legitimacy after Donald Trump's presidential win in the US, he said.

"Hate speech is not the same as free speech."

The university had asked security guards to remove the posters, he said.

It was the second similar controversy on the university's campus, after another incident several weeks ago, in which a European Students Association group was set up and also thought to be touting a racist agenda.

That group has since disbanded.

It was unclear who was behind the Western Guard group and the group declined to be interviewed by RNZ.

A phone number associated with the group's website was inactive.

The original complainant, who posted her concerns on Facebook, also declined to be interviewed in person or over the phone today.

In an unsigned email beginning, "To be blunt", an unnamed spokesperson for the group said, "Western Guard accepts and promotes the truth that it was White European peoples who - from a faraway continent - discovered and civilized these beautiful islands, building roads, schools, and hospitals, creating a better quality of life for ourselves and Maori alike."

"Ask yourself, do you want to live in a country where white people are the minority? Do you want to live in South Africa or Zimbabwe?" the email continued.

The group was not university-affiliated, the email said.

The university said in a statement it was investigating the posters and whether they breached university policies.

The university was committed to being "safe, inclusive and equitable", it said.

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