Massey Wellington Students’ Association (MAWSA) is planning a forum to take place on August 19 for students to raise concerns over an August 8 email that was sent to students from Massey University.
The email entitled “Massey University wants to remind students to stay safe on campus” stated that Wellington police were investigating an “attack on a woman” near the Museum building by the Massey campus.
The email included safety “tips” such as “carry a whistle and a torch” and “wear comfortable shoes e.g. running shoes”.
A recently established Facebook page called ‘Massey Students against Sexual Violence’ has approximately 150 members and has voiced concerns with the email’s ‘tips’.
“As women, it’s pretty annoying to be told how to look after yourself, we’ve been conditioned since we were young to know all these ‘tips’ yet haven’t been brought up where people are told to not rape, harass or assault to the same degree,” a post on the page reads.
The Facebook page also addresses issues around Massey’s communication.
“Massey KNEW… about the assault, and hadn’t contacted students. It was up to the students, who had heard partial information or rumors somehow, to get conformation if an assault had even happened. And then students asked to get an email sent out to all other students,” another post on the page says.
MAWSA president Todd Williamson said Massey students had approached him with their concerns around Massey’s communication to students.
“Students have voiced their concerns with the way Massey University has distributed the information regarding the alleged sexual assault that occurred around the war memorial building.
“MAWSA is working alongside the students to ensure that their concerns are addressed by the university.”
Discussions with the university have culminated in creating a forum on August 19 where attendees can pose questions to both the university and the New Zealand Police regarding safety on campus and other information surrounding these events, he said.
The forum will be held in room 10A02 in the campus’ Museum building at 5.15pm on Tuesday. The MAWSA Facebook event page will have updates as they become available.
Massey spokeswoman Cas Carter said that none of the safety tips in the emails to students and to staff were anything new or even original to Massey.
“Our Health and Safety specialist says students themselves have talked about whistles and comfortable shoes being practical measures to keep themselves safe when walking at night.
“Campus staff are meeting with students to discuss what else needs to be done. We are also talking with Police, the Wellington City Council and the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network.”
Massey’s “slow” communication has come under fire by students in the past, particularly in the aftermath of an earthquake that rattled Wellington in July last year.
Wellington emergency numbers:
Emergency services (Police, Ambulance and Rescue): 111
Wellington Rape Crisis: 04-473 5358
Youthline: 0800 37 66 33