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.
Griffith University email to all students
I am aware that the events of the last couple of weeks have been hard for many of you.
Globally, those who have friends and family in regions impacted by natural disaster or armed conflict, including Afghanistan, Israel, Gaza and Myanmar will doubtless be distressed and worried for them. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
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. Earlier this week we saw expressions of violent anti-Semitism on Australian streets.
Racism and threats of violence have no place in our country and no place on our campuses. I encourage you to reach out to Student Counselling and Wellbeing Services or the GUMURRII Student Success Unit if you need support. If you experience racism at Griffith you are encouraged to report a concern, which can be done anonymously.
If at any time you are concerned about your safety on campus, please call Campus Security on 1800 800 707. If you are in immediate danger, or in an emergency situation, call emergency services on 000 (triple zero) or 112 from a mobile phone.
Academic freedom remains a critical issue and we recognise the right of staff and students to take diverse positions on contentious issues, but this does not extend to vilification.
The University is offering assessment extensions to students identified as Australian First Peoples for certain assessment types due between now and 18 October 2023. Any assessment item due between these dates may be submitted anytime up to 12pm (noon) on 19 October 2023.
What assessments are eligible for extension?
Some assessment types are excluded from the extension offer, as they would require detailed rearrangement and may impact your progression if delayed. The following assessment categories are excluded:
• time scheduled event assessments (such as presentations, performance, oral examinations, timed examinations, tests or quizzes and scheduled lab or practicum assessments)
• group work activities
• workplace assessments.
Extensions are automatic for any other assessment items. If you aren’t sure if your assessment is one of the excluded categories above, please seek advice from your Course Convenor.
Do I need to tell anyone I’m submitting late?
As a courtesy to your course teaching team, please let your Course Convenor know you will submit late. Your Course Convenor may extend the Canvas due date or ask you to submit your work directly to them.
For non-Indigenous students who have been impacted by recent events, please use the usual processes to apply for an extension. We recognise that some sympathy and flexibility will be required at these times.
Professor Carolyn Evans
Vice Chancellor and President
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk