Content warning: Sinophobia and racial vilification
Asian students have been racially abused and targeted with Sinophobic slurs by a man near the Wentworth building this morning, on the first day back from mid-semester break, and Campus Security did not attend the scene.
Olivia Allanson, a fourth year student, witnessed the abuse as she was walking to her morning seminar. Allanson told Honi that a man was targeting Asian students and yelling that they “weren’t real Australians” and that they should “go back to your own country.”
While amongst those targeted was a group of close to twenty Chinese tourists, Allanson, who is Indonesian-Australian, said the man targeted people who appeared Asian, vilifying them with Sinophobic slurs such as “Chinese bastards,” regardless of whether they were actually Chinese.
When some students confronted the man, they were told to “shut up” and to fight him.
Allanson also told Honi that the man remained across Butlin Avenue from the Wentworth Building throughout the incident.
The verbal abuse did not escalate into acts of violence.
“Lots of students like me were scared and so didn’t speak up,” Allanson said, “Maybe two or three Asian students spoke up”
The University had not been made aware of the incident when it was reported to them by Honi.
They encouraged witnesses to report the event to Campus Security.
“The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and community is always our first priority,” an official spokesperson said.
Honi understands the man is not a University of Sydney student.
The University told Honi, “While our campus is open to members of the public and visitors… we do not tolerate any behaviour that is racist, intimidating, abusive or threatening.”
Campus access rules govern the entry of non-students on campus. They stipulate that a person who enters campus without lawful excuse and consent from the University will be effectively directed to leave campus.
This morning’s Sinophobic incident comes after a Chinese student was punched and spat on in a racist attack in August and racist posters were uncovered in the Engineering precinct in March.
Students who harass others on the basis of race may be penalised by the misconduct process, according to the University’s Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Policy.