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Racism

Australian students who dressed as KKK forced to complete Indigenous subject

University suspended some of the students and said they would also have to ‘engage with Indigenous and Jewish communities’

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 July, 2018, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 July, 2018, 5:02pm

A group of Australian university students who dressed as members of the Ku Klux Klan and in blackface as a “cotton-picking” slave will be forced to complete a course on Australian Indigenous culture.

Charles Sturt University announced on Monday that five students had received punishments ranging from exclusion and suspension to a requirement to complete the university’s Indigenous Australian Cultures, Histories and Contemporary Realities subject.

In June it was reported that the five students had dressed up for a “politically incorrect” end-of-term party at the Black Swan hotel in Wagga Wagga.

On a local level, it deeply offended our indigenous and Jewish communities
Andrew Vann, CSU Vice-Chancellor

A since-deleted photo posted to Instagram was captioned “very very politically incorrect … Cotton prices are unreal though so it’s a great time to be pickin”.

It showed five men in home-made Ku Klux Klan hoods and robes and one man in blackface and body paint, pretending to be a slave.

On Monday the university announced the penalties and said the students would also have to “engage with indigenous and Jewish communities”.

CSU Vice-Chancellor Andrew Vann said the images posted on social media had “resulted in global outrage and contact to the university from individuals around the globe”.

“On a local level, it deeply offended our Indigenous and Jewish communities,” he said. “Individuals, community groups, fellow students and those involved will all have differing opinions on the penalties. As a university we will not tolerate or condone this behaviour, we will however work with students during their suspension to further educate them on the cultural impact of their actions.

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“All students involved in the incident have shown remorse for their actions and been offered ongoing counselling and support. CSU has a strong stance against racism as outlined in our anti-racism policy. I am satisfied that the outcomes of our investigation reflect this view.”

The university would not say how many students had been excluded or suspended, or how many would have to complete the course.

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A public description for the end-of-semester party on Facebook billed the event as a two-day end-of-term party with a “politically incorrect” opening night.

“As exams have just commenced we are already looking forward to the end of term and thus, the idea of the muddy duck ‘two dayer’ has been born,” it said. “Thursday night [is a] ‘politically incorrect’ themed session kicking off at 7.30pm. So grab a kit that would legally get you in the s**t and hook right in.”