The Frankly Enormous Elephant in the Room


Content Warning: Sexual Harassment


Tēnā koutou,


Considering recent events in the university, and the ongoing investigation into its processes, we want to make clear AUTSA Advocacy’s stance. It is never acceptable to sexually harass people and it is reprehensible to exploit power dynamics to do so, too. This year more than most, students are placed in extremely difficult situations - financially, socially, academically and professionally. It can sometimes be unclear who to turn to. If you have had experiences here at AUT that have made you feel unsafe and you don’t feel comfortable using the student feedback portal or you’re scared of what might happen, AUTSA Advocacy will be happy to hear you.


We are independent from the university and can promise a safe, confidential and professional environment for you to provide feedback, lodge complaints, or let us know what you’d like us to submit to the university’s review panel. Nothing you say to us will be passed on to the university except with your express permission.


If you are being made to feel uncomfortable, intimidated or coerced at university, work, or in a tenancy or flatmate setting, please also feel free to contact us for guidance and assistance. Student Services ask that you go through the Formal Complaints process if you are not happy with your paper or a staff member, which you can do via the following link:

https://www.aut.ac.nz/student-life/student-feedbackcompliments,-concerns-and-complaints


The folks who monitor feedback through that portal are good people who do excellent work. The avenue is always there for you to use, and similarly, we’re here for you if you are nervous about the process, don’t know where to start, or not sure whether you’re comfortable approaching the university, yet. No matter what, we’re here to help, and our team is professional and friendly.


Outside of the university, we have seen instances of employers, landlords and cotenants acting in inappropriate manners, especially given the complications of lockdown. It’s easy for us to deride people who engage in this behaviour, but it is not ultimately helpful. Please know that we are here to support you any way we can, and if we’re not able to assist ourselves, we’ll be happy to work with you to find someone who can, be it in the university or an outside body.


Above all, though, I want to say our team has been inspired by the amazing work and spirit we’ve seen from you all this past semester. I sincerely hope that this semester is easier, and that we can return to safety and normalcy. Be safe, and be kind to yourselves.


We can be contacted on advocacy@aut.ac.nz, or on 021 195 1178. Kia Kaha, AUTSA Advocacy