Controversial Auckland University club disbands

A controversial Auckland University student club is calling it quits after its members were threatened with violence and accused of racism.

The Auckland University European Students Association has withdrawn its application to affiliate with the university on the eve of Orientation Week.

Yesterday the group's plan to hold a stall and recruit members on campus next week drew widespread criticism. Many feared it was a thinly veiled white nationalist group.

But in an overnight post on its Facebook page the president of the fledgling club said it had become extremely dangerous to continue in the face of "appalling rhetoric" by people on and off campus regarding the group and what it supported.

"The constant threats to our safety, exposure of privacy, and general abuse the group and individuals have received is simply unacceptable, dangerous and extremely worrying," wrote the president, who did not give his or her name.

"It is truly saddening that these actions go entirely against what those who have had a problem with us support and promote on their respective platforms and outlets."

He said people had formed their own incorrect opinions about the group, which had never
intended to be political or engage in anything other than a mutual interest in history and culture.

"However, due to an extremely high number of physical threats and severe and unfounded accusations of racism and fascism we see that the costs outweigh the benefits to taking this club any further.

"This move should signify where true fascism lies, as those of us who did not intend to have any political association are having our legitimate interest in a cultural club shut down with credible threats of violence."

He said the group rejected the "slanderous" accusations again it and said it had always been open to anyone of any ethnicity, viewpoint or belief.



Yesterday Auckland University Students' Association president Will Matthews said he was deeply concerned about the views and purposes of the group. He also claimed the group undermined the safety of students on campus.

However, Auckland University said there was no reason to stop the group from taking part in next week's student expo as there was no evidence of discrimination or racism.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy also fired a warning shot saying she would be keeping an eye on the group.

The head of the European Students' Association yesterday told NZME the group was misunderstood and "we aren't Nazis, white supremacists, racists, fascists".

"We completely condemn all of that. We aren't any of that."

The group's Facebook page includes Celtic symbols used by white supremacist groups, and paintings depicting the unification of Germany.

It also posted "our pride is our honour and loyalty", a statement similar to "my honour is called loyalty", a common translation of the Nazi SS slogan.

- NZ Herald

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