Photo: Gerry Lauzon

Global Student Stories – 8/10/16

Here is this week’s set of Global Student Stories, featuring news from the USA, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

USA: Two racist incidents in 48 hours
Four white students are being investigated by the University of North Dakota after a photo was posted on Snapchat showing them in black face masks, alongside the caption “Black lives matter”.

This is the second racially-charged photograph to be associated with the university in the space of two days.
An earlier photo showed three white students, one making a peace sign, captioned “Locked the black b**** out”. This was also shared on Snapchat.

Mark Kennedy, President of the University of North Dakota, released a statement addressing both of the incidents.
Kennedy said: “I am appalled that within 48 hours two photos with racially-charged messages have been posted on social media and associated with the UND campus community.”

He added: “It is abundantly clear that we have much work to do” at the University.

Campus police will be aiding the University with the investigation.

South Africa: University vehicles torched
Six vehicles belonging to the University of Zululand, including three buses, were torched during protests on campus this week.

Sources close to the university suggest that the damage is expected to equate to several million rands. A million rands is the equivalent of approximately £56,316.

Protests have been occurring at other universities in the country demanding free education. However, at the University of Zululand, staff have been striking since mid-August, with low pay being one contributing factor.

A member of the South African Students Organisation said the vehicles were not set alight as part of protests about fees, but were directly linked to the staff pay dispute. The University has refused to pay striking staff.

One of the vehicles was a brand new pick up truck which was yet to be registered under the name of the university.

New Zealand: University launches fundraising campaign
The University of Auckland is aiming to raise $300 million in donations by 2020. The money will be used to help the university provide scholarships, hire academics and also provide funding for research.

At present, half of the total has been raised in gifts and pledges, this includes just under $24 million for medicine, $9 million for business and innovation related studies and $7 million for the environment.

Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon said that the fundraising was aimed at helping to tackle some major issues New Zealand faces, including improvement of the school system and transforming the economy.

He said: “The goal for this campaign is $300 million and we’ve stepped that up really because the resources that come in through philanthropy allow us to do some fantastic research and to bring in great students into the university.

“We’re really setting out sights higher and being ambitious about what we can achieve with this support.”

Australia: Anger at new weapons lab on campus
Students at the University of Melbourne have shown anger at Lockheed Martin, a US missile and war plane manufacturer, opening a brand new research lab at the University.

The University’s Students’ Union (SU) has condemned the collaboration as being “unethical”. Tyson Holloway-Clarke, SU’s President, commented that the university was “endorsing, and being complicit in this technology which could lead to death and the destruction of property”.

Mr Holloway-Clarke is currently raising these concerns with the university and the state and federal govenments.
It is the company’s first lab outside of the US, and it will focus on designing sophisticated computer software for directing attacks, as well as hypersonic flight, robotics and intelligence surveillance.

A spokesman from the company said the laboratories “operate on the frontline of applied research and development, and have been responsible for many advanced technology breakthroughs.”

The lab is expected to open in early 2017 with the researchers being co-located at universities across Australia.

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