3 Oct 2017

Uni clubs comp devolves into abortion stoush

2:47 pm on 3 October 2017

A row between an Auckland University anti-abortion group and a feminist group has forced organisers to shut down a student club competition and start again.

University of Auckland

Photo: 123RF

Students choose the best club annually, by voting with a thumbs-up symbol or 'like' on Facebook.

This year's competition took a heated turn when a feminist group questioned why the pro-life group - which students abolished from their association in August - had votes from international anti-abortionists.

The Campus Feminist Collective said it became suspicious when it saw the anti-abortion club had vastly more votes than others, with many coming from pastors and middle-aged people living in Missouri, Alabama and Australia.

The collective decided to act, by alerting their supporters and encouraging them to vote for an alternate club - the Snowsport Club.

But then the Snowsport club's votes jumped by 1000 and it was accused of buying Brazilian bots to up the numbers - something the feminist group denied any involvement in.

Auckland University Students Association president Will Matthews said he did not think there had ever been a really contentious club pub put up.

"And because of events around the university this year, this was a really controversial nomination," Mr Matthews said.

Since the spat erupted, the university has been forced to change its voting process, to make sure only students were involved.

On a university Facebook page, the clubs support committee said the fun competition had "devolved into accusations of unfairness and cheating".

It was untenable to continue to run the competition in its current form, the committee said.

The award will be announced on Thursday.