Auckland University club linked to alt-right views disbands
A club at the University of Auckland linked to white supremacy has disbanded.
The European Students Association (AUESA) had approval to set up a stall at next week's O-Week celebrations, and hoped to become affiliated to the Auckland University Students' Association (AUSA) the following week.
But its Facebook page, which contained imagery used by white supremacist groups and a slogan very similar to that used by the Nazi SS paramilitary organisation, led many to accuse it of being a front for racists.
In a lengthy post on Facebook late on Thursday night, the AUESA said it was disbanding and would no longer seek affiliation.
"It has become extremely dangerous for AUESA to continue with the appalling rhetoric by people on and off campus regarding our group, supposed members and leadership (all entirely unverifiable and rumour) and who we are linked with, what we support, what our aims were, what supposed membership have done in their private lives and much more," the group's administrator wrote.
"We were asked to clarify numerous things and we did, yet it achieved very little. People had formed their own incorrect opinions on AUESA from the get go, and disregarded anything we had to say."
The AUSA said the group's Facebook page was "strongly indicative of a highly nationalist or white pride group".
A spokesman for the AUESA, Adam Holland, told NZME on Thursday the group's opponents were "hateful" and the AUSA should issue an apology.
Mr Holland made headlines last year after hijacking a mayoral debate with chants of "Allahu Akbar!" and swearing.
It's not clear if Mr Holland is actually a member of the group or just pretending to be.
The group's alleged founder has in the past expressed desire to set up an "alt-right" political party, according to screenshots posted to Facebook. The alt-right movement is a loose collection of neo-Nazis, anti-feminists, white supremacists, far-right conservatives, Donald Trump supporters and online trolls.
He told Newshub yesterday the similarity between the group's slogan and that used by the Nazi SS was a coincidence. The group later removed the quote.
AUESA supporters expressed regret at the group's disbanding, many posting on Facebook it was "reverse racism" and calling opponents "cucks" - a sexist insult popular with the alt-right.
A protest against the group's stall at "O" week had been planned today.
The University of Auckland said it had no control over student clubs, and students who feel threatened by the group should seek counselling.