Politics | Parmjeet Parmar

ACT campaign threat to Māori student welfare

The Tertiary Education Union Te Hautū Kahurangi says political parties are creating unnecessary division on campus through their attacks on Māori and Pasifika study spaces.

ACT tertiary education spokesperson Parmjeet Parmar has written to all universities and polytechnics asking for a list of safe spaces, the rationale for such spaces, and whether signage or other policies are changing as a result of ACT’s campaign.

She says the signage is a reminder of darker days when different races were segregated at swimming baths and barber shops, whereas modern values of inclusivity celebrate the mixing of people from different backgrounds, which is crucial to closing academic and economic disparities.

Tumu Whakarae national president Julie Douglas says a far from being divisive, the spaces allow students to feel more at home in academic life in what are Anglocentric colonial institutions.

It means they can freely express their lived experiences in a safe and supportive environment with those of a similar world view, which contributes to wellbeing and academic achievement.

Public Interest Journalism