Auckland Uni graduation processions cancelled following Christchurch attacks

6:37 pm on 18 April 2019

All three upcoming graduation processions for Auckland University students have been cancelled due to safety concerns after the Christchurch terror attacks.

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Auckland University said it would look at whether processions should be cancelled altogether. Photo: 123rf

It's the latest cancellation following those by Unitec and Canterbury University.

Vice Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon said the university met with the police this morning to talk about security.

He said while they did not offer any formal advice on cancelling the processions, police did bring up the risk of copycat terrorist events.

"Until we have time to evaluate that properly and think about the potential security and safety issues, it was best to cancel the graduation processions for the autumn," he said.

Mr McCutcheon said the procession would have involved closing off roads and there were concerns that the university could not guarantee safety.

"[It] involves are very large number of graduates and their parents walking through the streets of Auckland," he said.

"The concern, of course, is that there have been incidents overseas where vehicles have been used as weapons, people have driven into crowds.

"We're still in that post-Christchurch window [where] the risk of copycat activity is enhanced.

"That window covers our graduation period so we would not want to expose our graduates, their families and our staff to the risk of that kind of event."

Mr McCutcheon said a team from the university would now be looking into what to do for future processions.

He said they would look at the risk if they kept doing what they have been doing in the past.

The team would also look at whether they could use different routes or whether they should cancel processions altogether and come up with alternative ways of celebrating the success of graduates, he said.

Mr McCutcheon denied that the cancellation had anything to do with recent claims from students that white supremacy was rising in the university.

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