We usually focus on research here at Thesislink, but right now, it is very hard to do that. Our nation has been shaken, and our values attacked. Fifty people have lost their lives, and the Muslim community has been deliberately targeted. The victims of Friday’s terrorist attack were peacefully expressing their beliefs. That right is fundamental to New Zealand’s culture of freedom and diversity.
Our postgraduate family here at AUT is made up of people from all over the world, from a great many faiths. We want you to know that we support your right to be here, to practice your religion, and to be part of New Zealand society.
As researchers and thesis writers, we are accustomed to working very hard. But this is not a time for pressure or deadlines. The nation is grieving, and we need to treat ourselves (and each other) with patience and kindness as we grieve.
Today at 12:30pm AUT will observe a minute of silence in reflection and support of those affected by Friday’s massacre. There are also spaces set aside for students and staff to come together, talk, mourn, and support one another:
- South Campus: MB 315
- North Campus: AF113 – Foyer area
- City Campus: WG Level 1 – Foyer area
Each of these spaces will have staff in attendance, a book and board to write and share thoughts. There are also counselling services available for students. Contact extension 9292 (or if calling from an external phone, 09 921 9292) for more information.
Our Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack gave a statement on Saturday, which is shown below.
Let’s all look after each other at this heartbreaking time.
Message from Vice Chancellor Derek McCormack (Saturday 16 March)
I am sure we all woke up today with the dreadful events of yesterday heavy on our minds, bewildered and unsettled, perhaps not feeling safe in our country anymore.
Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go particularly to those whose family and friends have been killed or hurt in this unthinkable and hateful massacre, and to the wider network of people with connections to those who have been lost.
We also think of the workers who are at the front line of support and recovery: our own AUT Muslim Chaplain and Imam, Sheik Rafat, is active in gathering together the Muslim community and reaching out to Christchurch: our colleagues at Canterbury University who are close to the incidents and will be doing what they can to assist; all those involved in the emergency and health care services on the ground, and to the many people of Christchurch who are coming together to support one another and recover what has been lost in this awful way.
We embrace and support all of you who are part of our own Muslim community here at AUT, in the aftermath of this devastating attack on people of your faith. We stand firm together with you.
At such a time as this, we are reminded of the importance of recognising the family of humanity. We are all connected by far more than whatever might seem to separate us.
Finally, I would like to express our shared gratitude to all those at AUT who rapidly gave the lead in organising and arranging support and responses. That work is continuing and will ramp up next week. But staff in Student Services and Emergency Management have already done much and I thank them for their swift and compassionate action.