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To: Vice-Chancellors Dawn Freshwater, Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa, Neil Quigley, Jan Thomas, Nic Smith, Cheryl de la Rey, Grant Edwards and Helen Nicholson

Open Letter: Aotearoa New Zealand's Universities to Stand in Solidarity with Palestine

1. We urge all Vice-Chancellors to release a joint statement in solidarity with Palestine that condemns Israel’s genocidal attacks on Palestinians and calls for an immediate ceasefire and end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. If all Vice-Chancellors cannot agree to make a joint statement, we urge those who do agree to issue a joint statement or separate statements;

2. We call on all signatories of this open letter to include the following statement in the signature of their University and/or professional email addresses: “We, University students, staff and alumni of the Universities in Aotearoa New Zealand call on our Universities to stand in solidarity with Palestine and take a stand against Israel’s genocide of Palestinians.”

Why is this important?

We, the students, staff, and alumni of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Universities, urge you to release a joint statement on behalf of our Universities standing in solidarity with Palestine. We call for this statement to condemn Israel’s genocidal attacks on Palestinians and call for an immediate ceasefire and end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.

To understand why this joint statement from our Universities is urgently needed, it is important that you acknowledge that Palestine has been subject to Israel’s settler-colonial violence for the past 75 years. As an independent UN expert reported last year, for 55 of these years, “the Israeli military occupation has prevented the realisation of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, violating each component of that right and wilfully pursuing the ‘de-Palestinianisation’ of the occupied territory.” This expert also affirmed that Israel's endeavours in Palestine are “illegal”, amount to “gross violations of international law, including racial segregation and subjugation” and are “indistinguishable from settler-colonialism.”

Similarly, a UN-appointed Commission of Inquiry into Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine concluded last year that “by continuing to occupy [Palestinian] territory by force, Israel incurs international responsibilities and remains accountable for violations of the rights of the Palestinians, both individually and as a people.”

On 7 October, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that the Palestinians of Gaza would pay an “immense price” for the actions of Hamas fighters. Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, also stated that the Israeli government holds the entire Palestinian population of Gaza responsible for the actions of militant groups, and should therefore be subject to collective punishment and unrestricted use of force, saying: “It is an entire nation out there that is responsible.”

Since 7 October, Israel, with the support of the United States, has killed at least 9,061 people in Gaza, including at least 3,760 children as of 2 November. Israel’s attacks have also displaced at least 1.4 million people in Gaza, with approximately 629,000 of them seeking refuge in 150 UN emergency shelters. It is also estimated that at least 2,200 people are currently buried under the rubble of destroyed buildings in Gaza.

A group of independent UN experts have repeatedly stated that Israel’s attacks on Palestinians are genocidal and constitute war crimes and violations of international law, remarking:

“We remain convinced that the Palestinian people are at grave risk of genocide. The time for action is now. Israel’s allies also bear responsibility and must act now to prevent its disastrous course of action. The Israeli airstrike on a residential complex in the Jabalia refugee camp is a brazen violation of international law – and a war crime. Attacking a camp sheltering civilians including women and children is a complete breach of the rules of proportionality and distinction between combatants and civilians.”

In terms of the reasons for Israel’s genocidal attacks on Palestinians, international human rights lawyer Craig Mokhiber noted in his resignation letter from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that this “textbook case of genocide” is “rooted in an ethno-nationalist colonial-settler ideology” which “has entered its final phase, toward the expedited destruction of the last remnants of indigenous Palestinian life in Palestine.”

As a collective of Aotearoa New Zealand's University communities, we want to highlight that a key part of Israel’s genocide against Palestine is its epistemicide due its targeted attacks on Universities in Gaza. These attacks are not only murdering Palestine’s University communities, they are also systematically destroying the rich knowledges, histories and literatures of Palestine, without which our world, and our understanding of it, will forever be incomplete. To be clear, Universities that fail to condemn these attacks can no longer claim to be genuinely committed to the pursuit of knowledge and any meaningful vision of a local and global scholarly community.

In our Universities, we teach and learn about the genocidal violence that has occurred and is still occurring around the world - from the Holocaust against Jewish peoples in Europe to the Crown’s ongoing violence against Māori here in Aotearoa New Zealand. During these lessons, we often ask how so many people, including those with great influence and power, can enable such violence and stay silent when marginalised groups are being dehumanised and murdered.

Now, many of us no longer have to ask this question, as we are seeing this enabling and silence in real time around the world, including here in Aotearoa New Zealand. Not only is our country's media and government failing to condemn Israel’s genocidal violence, each of you, as the leaders of our Universities, are failing to do so as well. We note that some of you have released statements incorrectly framing this genocide as “escalating conflict in the Middle East”, and others among you are choosing to remain silent.

Some might say that it would not make any difference if our Universities in Aotearoa New Zealand stood in solidarity with Palestine. However, the reality is that our Universities play a crucial role as the “critic and conscience of society" which means your enabling statements and silences are helping to allow this genocide to continue by making it appear like we, as communities of learners, teachers, researchers and professionals, deem it acceptable.

*Full letter here:*



2023-12-19 15:49:53 +1300

Neelum Patel, Principal Advisor Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Victoria University of Wellington
Rawiri Keenan, Associate Professor, University of Waikato
Oskar Primbs, Tutor, University of Otago
Micheal McCabe, Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology
Kenzi Yee, Hub Adviser, University of Auckland
Dominic Pink, PhD candidate & lecturer Auckland University of Technology & teaching fellow Victoria University of Wellington
Ian Lovering, Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
David Garcia, Research Associate, University of Canterbury
Cassidy Wild Brooks, Teaching Assistant Research Assistant, Auckland University of Technology
Sita Venkateswar, Associate Professor, Massey University
Lorena de la Torre Parra, Kairangahau/Researcher, Centre for Indigenous Psychologies, Massey University

2023-12-19 15:47:03 +1300

Dani Yourukova, Teaching assistant, Victoria University of Wellington
Hannah Jenkin, Librarian and TEU VUW Branch President, Victoria University of Wellington
Emilie Hope, Engagement Coordinator, Transition and Graduation, Victoria University of Wellington
Trisia Farrelly, Professor, Massey University
Mehwish Mughal, Student Experience Centre, University of Auckland
Leon Salter, Postdoctoral fellow, Auckland University of Technology
Tuivalu Lauganiu, Tuākana Coordinator, University of Auckland
Imran Muhammad, Professor, School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University
Jacqui Thornley, Online Learning Designer, University of Auckland
Max Soar, Research Fellow, Victoria University of Wellington
Rachel Purcell, Senior Research Fellow, University of Otago
Morgan Godfery, Senior lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
Alice Mills, Associate Professor, University of Auckland
Ritodhi Chakraborty, Lecturer, University of Canterbury

2023-12-19 15:45:29 +1300

Olivier Jutel, Lecturer, University of Otago
Anahera Roestenburg, Research Assistant, University of Auckland
Graeme MacRae, Senior Lecturer, Anthropology, Massey University
Dr Peter J Howland, Senior Lecturer, Massey University
Joy Holley, Library assistant, Victoria University of Wellington
Hanna Thompson, Tutor, University of Auckland
Maggie McGrath, GTA, University of Auckland
Samantha Keene, Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
Mo Zareei, Senior Lecturer in Composition/Sonic Arts, Victoria University of Wellington
Arianna Nisa-Waller, Hauora Māori Lecturer, University of Otago
Tarapuhi Vaeau, Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
Greer Mundie, Senior Administrator, University of Otago
Kyle Matthews, Teaching Fellow, University of Auckland
Kirsten Ward, Postdoctoral fellow, University of Otago
Lucien Johnson, Lecturer in Music, University of Waikato

2023-12-19 15:44:27 +1300

Eman Ghandour, Future Student Advisor, Auckland University of Technology
Marcela Palomino-Schalscha, Senior Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
Rebecca Mhyre, Senior Administrator, University of Otago
Iman Raza Khan, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Auckland
Iman Raza Khan, Research Assistant, Unitec - The Pukenga
Kirsty Whitby, Faculty Portfolio Manager, Auckland University of Technology
Olive Salter, GTA, and Research Assistant, University of Auckland
Carolyn Steele, Group leader, University of Otago
Nicole Wegner, Lecturer, University of Auckland
Anna Stephens, Teacher, University of Waikato
Jonathan Alexander Kennedy, Fine Arts Technician, Whitecliffe
Sara Youssef, AUT student president, Auckland University of Technology
Valentina Espinoza Cáceres, Teaching Assistant, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Auckland

2023-12-19 15:42:39 +1300

Nadia Mantell, Professional teaching fellow, University of Auckland
And Pasley, Researcher, University of Auckland
Rosie Dobson, Senior Research Fellow, University of Auckland
Brianna Bartley, Marker, Massey University
Rangipurei Manley, Researcher and alumni, Victoria University of Wellington
Rebekah Galbraith, Librarian, Victoria University of Wellington
Abby Wilson, Head of Hall, Victoria University of Wellington
Shania Pablo, PhD/Gallery and Engagement Assistant, University of Auckland
Esra Yaghi, English Tutor, University of Waikato
Josephine Jelicich, Casual technician at Architecture School, University of Auckland
Eduardo Salazar Moreira, Course Coordinator, Tutor, Geography, Victoria University of Wellington
Paul Myburgh, Professor of Law, Auckland University of Technology
Garrick W. Cooper, Senior Lecturer, University of Canterbury
Cassandra Mctavish, Senior Tutor Tū Tira Mai, Massey University

2023-12-19 15:41:11 +1300

Chas Carroll, Marketing Specialist, University of Otago
Courtney Grace Barrow, Notetaker Coordinator Disability Information and Support, University of Otago
Gabriella Foreman, Research Assistant, University of Auckland
Godakandage Chathumi Jayathma Lelwala, Admissions Advisor, University of Auckland
Dr. Sally Day, Tutor, Victoria University of Wellington
Lauren Roil, Programme Administrator, University of Waikato
Diana Albarran, Lecturer, University of Auckland
Kristina Todd, Sexual Harm Prevention Advisor, Massey University
Alison Cleland, Associate Professor, School of Law, Auckland University of Technology
Jemma McKay, Case Manager Campus Care (UOA), BSW University of Otago, University of Auckland
Sarah Lamar, Visiting Scholar Victoria University of Wellington
Rahel Leila Bauerdick, Tutor, Victoria University of Wellington
Ursula Taylor, Programme Portfolio Manager, University of Auckland

2023-12-19 15:39:07 +1300

Dr Vicky Walters, Lecturer, Sociology, Massey University
Sisifa Lui, Project Coordinator- Office of Pacific Advancement, Auckland University of Technology
Hana Burgess, Professional Teaching Fellow / Doctoral Candidate, University of Auckland
Neil Vallelly, Lecturer, Sociology, Gender Studies, and Criminology, University of Otago
Fatima Junaid, Senior lecturer, Massey University
Laura Duffy, Screen arts lecturer, Massey University
Lauren B, Teacher, University of Auckland
Emma Single, Senior Research Operations Manager, University of Auckland
Jeremy Moses, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Canterbury
Ayla corner, Senior academic administrator, Massey University
Abbi Virens, Post-doctoral fellow, University of Otago
Lucy Meyle, Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology
Natalie, Research Assistant Anthropology, University of Auckland
Holly Walker, Lecturer, Massey University

2023-12-19 15:37:27 +1300

Patrick Homan, Associate Director, Victoria University of Wellington
Lucas Neal, Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
Gazi Hassan, Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato
Hinerangi Phyllis Wilson, Kaiāwhina, TWOA
Richard Jackson, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago
Georgia Lenihan-Geels, Postdoctoral scientist, Victoria University of Wellington
Jacinta Forde, Anthropology Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
Alaa Aljanaby, Programme Manager, University of Waikato
Sonya Withers, Senior Lecturer, Massey University
Louise Palmet, Senior Lecturer in Sculpture, University of Canterbury
Ted Whitaker, Videographer, Victoria University of Wellington
Sabrina Lawson, Senior Tutor, Massey University
Dr Gwyn Easterbrook-Smith, Lecturer, Massey University
Rachael Marsters, Industry Engagement Manager, Auckland University of Technology

2023-12-19 15:35:43 +1300

Graeme Whimp, Adjunct Research Fellow, Victoria University of Wellington
Nils Makauskas, Doctoral Candidate & GTA, University of Auckland
Vanessa Gerrie, Lecturer in Critical Studies, CoCA, Massey University
Ankita Askar, IT Team Lead, University of Auckland
Owen Connors, Professional Teaching Fellow, University of Auckland
Carolyn Deng, Honorary lecturer, University of Auckland
Moana Waitoki, Associate Professor, University of Waikato
Fiona Amundsen, Associate Professor, Auckland University of Technology
Lani Thomson, Future Students Enquiry & Advisory Manager, Auckland University of Technology
Jude Douglas, Senior Lecturer, Open Polytechnic
Sam Duffy, Student Development Coordinator, Massey University
Osama Kashif, Developer, University of Auckland
Lynne Park, Research Fellow, University of Auckland

2023-12-19 15:34:15 +1300

Madeline Henry, Teaching Assistant, Auckland University of Technology
Mai AlSharaf, International, University of Auckland
Suliana Mone, Lecturer, University of Auckland
Maureen Malcolm, Lecturer, University of Auckland
Treasa Dunworth, Associate Professor, University of Auckland
Corinna Howland, Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
David T. M. Fa'avae, Associate Professor, University of Auckland
Eru Kapa-Kingi, Teaching Fellow - Faculty of Law, University of Auckland
Cassie Withey-Rila, ARF, University of Otago
Jack Oliver-Hood, Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology
Alex Su, PTF, University of Auckland
Amita Gejji, International Manager, University of Auckland
Robyn Andrews, Lecturer in Anthropology, Massey University
Elisabeth Pointon, PTF, University of Auckland
Lynette Nguyen, Technology Graduate, University of Auckland
Sam Iti-Prendergast, Lecturer, University of Waikato

2023-12-19 15:33:33 +1300

Belinda-Rose Tran-Lawrence, Senior tutor - BA Core, Massey University
Barbara-Luhia Graham, Professional Teaching Fellow, University of Auckland
Dwayne Hansen, Teacher, University of Waikato
Devon Seymour, ALPSS Student Advisor, University of Waikato
Paul Brown, Research Fellow, University of Waikato
Denise Blake, Associate Professor, Victoria University of Wellington
Michael Dennis Ross, Head of School, Victoria University of Wellington
Vincent Owen van Uitregt, Senior Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
Tahu Kukutai, Professor, University of Waikato
Nathan Rahui, Project Leader, University of Waikato
Octavia Calder-Dawe, Lecturer Health Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington
Seuta'afili Dr Patrick Thomsen, Senior Lecturer in Global Studies, University of Auckland
Dr Tāwhanga Nopera, Health Promotions Coordinator, University of Waikato
Cassie Andersen, Assistant Lecturer, Massey University

2023-12-19 15:32:27 +1300

Peyman Zawar-Reza, Professor, University of Canterbury
Mairead de Roiste, Associate Professor, Victoria University of Wellington
MM Thompson-Fawcett, Professor, University of Otago
Robert Garth Cant, Retired Adjunct Staff, University of Canterbury
James Arthur Renwick, Professor, Victoria University of Wellington
Zemara Waru-Keelan, Tutor, University of Waikato
Lisa Vonk, Tutor, PhD Candidate, Massey University
Ngawaiata Henderson, Te Mata Aurei, University of Waikato
Merimeri Anania, PLD Facilitator, University of Waikato
Dadon Rowell, Teaching & Learning Librarian, University of Waikato
Dr. April K. Henderson, Senior Lecturer, Pacific Studies, Victoria University of Wellington
Georgia Carr, Contractor- Lecturer, Whitecliffe
Joeliee Seed-Pihama, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Waikato
Bhavya Chawdhary, Research Technician, University of Auckland
Moshe Rapaport, International Visiting Academic, Massey University

2023-12-19 15:31:26 +1300

Liana MacDonald, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Victoria University of Wellington
Lorena Gibson, Senior Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
Liam Martin, Lecturer, Institute of Criminology, Victoria University of Wellington
Luke Rowe, Senior Research Officer, Massey University
Emily Beausoleil, Senior Lecturer (Politics), Victoria University of Wellington
Dr Rangihurihia McDonald, Pou Ārahi, Te Whare Pukapuka, University of Waikato
Fleur Te Aho, Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland
Dougal McNeill, Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
Katarina Gray-Sharp, Guest Lecturer / Tutor, Massey University
Dieneke Jansen, Senior Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology
Russell Prince, Associate Professor, Massey University
Nicole Mincher, Lecturer, Massey University
Mohan Dutta, Dean’s Chair, Massey University
Emilie Vallee, Senior Lecturer, Massey University
Margaret Mitcalfe, Senior Tutor, Massey University

2023-12-19 15:30:07 +1300

Dr. Grace Gordon, Lecturer in Criminology, Auckland University of Technology
Tracey Whare, Pouako, University of Auckland
Sara Louise Kindon, Professor, Human Geography and Development Studies, Victoria University of Wellington
Hob Oz, lecturer, Massey University
Ninah Christie, Tutor University of Canterbury
Oli Mollard, Accommodation Services, Massey University
Janine Randerson, Associate Professor, Auckland University of Technology
Stephen Ross, Facilitator, University of Waikato
Libby Giles, Director of Education, Centres of Asia Pacific Excellence, University of Waikato
Arthur Anthony Johnson, International Sponsored Student Specialist, University of Auckland
Emma Powell, Lecturer, University of Otago
Neil Ballantyne, Principal Academic Staff Member, Te Pūkenga
Emalani Case, Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland
Dr Lesley Pitt, Senior Academic Staff Member, Te Pūkenga
Judith Douglas, Senior lecturer, Bachelor of Social Work, Te Pūkenga

2023-12-19 15:28:40 +1300

Toby Boraman, Dr/Lecturer in Politics, Massey University
Sione Ma'u, Senior lecturer, Maths, University of Auckland
Sharon McLennan, Senior Lecturer, Development Studies, Massey University
Fergus Barrowman, Publisher, Victoria University of Wellington
Raewyn Martyn, Lecturer of Painting, Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury.
Gabbi Courtenay, Graduate teaching assistant, University of Auckland
Zoe Poutu Fay, Professional Teaching Fellow, University of Auckland
Tenisha Kumar, Counsellor & Mental health advisor, Auckland University of Technology
Salene Schloffel-Armstrong, PTF, University of Auckland
Nikki Hessell, Professor, Victoria University of Wellington