A university has granted Indigenous students automatic extensions on their assessment deadlines to help them cope with the emotional fall-out from the Voice referendum – but not those impacted by the bloodshed in the Middle East.
Professor Carolyn Evans, vice Chancellor and president of Griffith University in south east Queensland, wrote to its 55,000 students last Thursday in an email subjected ‘responding to national and international events’.
The email, seen by Daily Mail Australia, expressed sympathy for those who have ‘friends and family in regions impacted by natural disaster or armed conflict, including Afghanistan, Israel, Gaza and Myanmar’.
‘Nationally, we have for some weeks seen ugly, racist abuse directed at many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in the context of the Voice,’ Professor Evans added.
Griffith University (pictured) in south east Queensland has granted automatic deadline extensions to all Indigenous students as a result of the fallout from the Voice referendum
Professor Evans said in the email Indigenous students would be granted extensions to their assessments in light of toll the Voice debate might be taking on them
‘Earlier this week we saw expressions of violent anti-Semitism on Australian streets.’
The comments were in reference to pro-Palestine rallies held in front of Sydney Opera House last Monday where demonstrators chanted ‘has the Jews’.
Professor Evans said in the email Indigenous students would be granted extensions to their assessments in light of toll the Voice debate might be taking on them.
‘The University is offering assessment extensions to students identified as Australian First Peoples for certain assessment types due between now and 18 October 2023,’ Professor Evans wrote.
‘Any assessment item due between these dates may be submitted anytime up to 12pm (noon) on 19 October 2023.’
Her email has sparked controversy among students.
‘While I don’t have a problem with a bit of understanding on a case-by-case basis, the assumption here is that Indigenous students, by virtue of their race, are deeply troubled by the referendum – to a point that is debilitating,’ said one student.
‘This is “the soft bigotry of low expectations” and deserves to be called out.’
The phrase, which was coined by US President George Bush’s speechwriter, has been used extensively by Indigenous leader Noel Pearson to describe how socially progressive people keep Aboriginal Australians down by not expecting the same standard or behaviour from them.
Another student asked: ‘Why grant Indigenous students extensions and not those who are affected by the conflict in the Middle East?’
One student suggested the move was an example of the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’, while another asked why Jewish or Palestinian students had not been granted the same extensions (stock image)
Professor Carolyn Evans (pictured), the university’s vice Chancellor and president, wrote to its 55,000 students last Thursday in an email subjected ‘responding to national and international events’
Those students who have been impacted by events outside of the Voice to Parliament’s failure are told they can apply for an extension via the normal route.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Griffith University for comment.
In February, Professor Evans told The Australian that Griffith graduated the equal-highest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Australia.
Last year, the university was engulfed in a ‘woke’ row after one of its academics suggested it be renamed ‘Dundalli University’, to honour an Indigenous warrior who led resistance to the European invasion of south-east Queensland.
Dr Fiona Foley suggested the name change because Sir Samuel Griffith – one of the authors of the Australian constitution – was attorney-general or Queensland premier during part of the time that widespread killings of First Nations people occurred in the late nineteenth century.
Dr Foley’s suggestion was prompted Australian historian Henry Reynolds’ 2021 book Truth-Telling, which describes Griffith as an ‘enabler’ of the massacres.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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