A survey administered to students on the first two days of the Students’ Representative Council elections has been suspended following condemnation from the University.
The survey was conducted outside polling booths and featured questions which, amongst other things, asked students to rate Chinese people on a scale of 0-7 based on adjectives including ‘attractive’, ‘deceptive’, and ‘violent’. Other questions included asking students whether they thought the participation of international students in campus politics should be restricted.
Several students told Honi that they felt distressed by the nature of the questions.
The survey was being conducted as part of a project entitled ‘Regionalisation without Regionalism: Understanding the role of nation building and identity formation in the puzzle of Northeast Asia’s organisational gap’. The project is being conducted by Minran Liu, co-President of the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association, and Associate Professor Jingdong Yuan.
A letter supplied to research assistants, who were from the TKW Research Group, indicated that the University Ethics Committee had “in principle” approved of the project, subject to formal approval.
The University issued a statement today condemning the survey. It alleges that the survey was not in fact approved by the Ethics Committee and that the University logo was being used without official permission.
“We were not aware the survey was being conducted until 25 September, and have very strong concerns about both its content and how it was conducted,” a University spokesperson said.
“We are formally contacting the staff and student involved today to advise them the matter may be subject to disciplinary proceedings. The student was instructed to immediately suspend the survey and study indefinitely and to desist from using the University logo without permission. Further actions may follow.”
The news comes only two weeks after the Monash University Caulfield student union attempted to ban international students from participating in its elections.