Ipenz slates engineering students over RoUndie 500

Last updated 16:53 23/09/2014

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The university club that offended students with costumes at a car event has been warned to clean up its act by one of its sponsors.

Canterbury University's Engineering Society (Ensoc) encouraged members to theme their RoUndie 500 cars "inappropriately".

"The more inappropriate the better'' was Ensoc's catch-cry in its marketing of the RoUndie 500 event in which students dress in costume and drive around to pubs in Canterbury. It took place this weekend.

ENSOC SPONSOR DISAPPOINTED

One of Ensoc's sponsors, the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (Ipenz), is likewise disappointed with "the racial and sexual stereotypes made by some entrants''.

Spokesman Turei Mackey said acting Ipenz chief executive Tim Davin had spoken to Ensoc president Guy Wilson. The phone call would be followed up with a formal warning letter.

''We told Ensoc that if they wish to continue down this path we will have to reconsider our sponsorship of the society. Ipenz did not sponsor or support that event,'' Mackey said.

He would not disclose the level of financial sponsorship given to the club.

Ipenz sponsored many student events, but not the RoUndie 500.

Negative images associated with the engineering industry were not helpful in making the profession stronger, Mackey said.

FORMAL COMPLAINTS LAID

The recently formed Feminists Society (FemSoc) has lodged a formal complaint with university management.

FemSoc said the event had offended ''everyone possible'' poking fun at women, Islam, Malaysia Airlines and the Ebola crisis. A university spokesman said an individual student had also complained.

FemSoc member Annamarie Moot was aware of numerous other complaints being compiled, and the society would be following up its complaint with an online petition against Ensoc's actions.

''They probably think it's just us [who are] angry, but it really is a whole lot of other people as well.''

''We're definitely not the fun police; We just want people to think a little bit. You can do a million different costumes without being racially insensitive.''

FemSoc president Sionainn Byrnes said the complaint was not directed purely at Ensoc, but at the whole student body.

It was a ''structural issue with student culture''.

This story has been edited since it was first published to better reflect the comments made by the various parties.

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