We Stand in Solidarity – a response to the ‘On China’ article

The Council members and staff at GSA join to express our deepest concerns, disappointment and objections to the discriminatory sentiments published in the recent On China article by De Minimis.

GSA does not stand for any kind of vilification or hate speech against our student communities or against any minority group. GSA supports freedom of speech and open academic dialogue, however stands against the discrimination and incitement of hatred against others on the basis of their nationality, religion or any other protected attribute. Our values of empowerment, collaboration, accountability, community and respect are not displayed in any fashion in the De Minimis article. Our initial response condemning this article can be found here.

GSA does not and will never stand for such negative and discriminatory sentiments being spread across the student body.

GSA stands in solidarity with our Chinese students and reaffirms our support for all members of our community. GSA is very prudent and diligent on the use of SSAF funding and will take the strictest measures on any graduate groups who engage in such distasteful and disgraceful activities – which is absolutely against one of the fundamental GSA objectives “to engage with graduates to improve emotional health and well-being”. GSA supports all of our student communities and their ability to advocate for themselves and for their right to participate within our graduate community.

To this end, a meeting has been scheduled with the office bearers of De Minimis on Tuesday 13 April 2021. We will be seeking answers from De Minimis office bearers on why the anonymous article was published and will be requesting an apology and retraction of the article. We will also discuss stopping funding to their group and consider the de-affiliation of any such graduate groups (including De Minimis) in the future. We will not be taking this matter lightly and will deal with the issue with the utmost attention it needs immediately.

GSA is the heart of graduate student life and will continue to protect and defend its members in line with the GSA objectives and values.

It is an important time for our entire community, student leaders and the UoM to stamp out discriminatory sentiments from our community.

We give you the assurance that we have taken this matter seriously and would like to continue to engage with you to keep you informed.

To counteract the message of the article, GSA will host an open forum, We Stand in Solidarity, on April 15 at 5.30pm. This online event will offer the opportunity for us to collectively share our sentiments, thoughts and messages, and reaffirm the value and contribution of our Chinese community to graduate student life.

Register your attendance via Zoom.

A PDF of this letter is available for download (PDF, 387KB).

Please contact communications@gsa.unimelb.edu.au for further information.