The Otago University Medical Students Association (OUMSA) issued a public apology on Facebook for offensive jokes in their annual Med Revue. This statement is believed to be the first of its kind for a student performance at Otago Uni.
The statement, released on Monday 13 September, was co-signed by OUMSA President Molly Elliott and Med Revue producer Amiel Khan. In it, they said: “After the show, it was brought to our attention that some of the jokes offended attendees, due to their racist and homophobic nature. For this we are deeply sorry.” A personal apology was also extended to the Dean of the Medical School, Professor Rathan Subramaniam.
Critic Te Arohi understands one of the skits which led to a student complaining involved four male flatmates acting out homosexual tropes. Another joke revolved almost entirely around Rathan’s name being mistaken, mispronounced or generally butchered repeatedly.
“Moving forward we will be reflecting upon the things OUMSA chooses to support, including what is incorporated into Med Revue. OUMSA does not support anything that in any way makes our community feel unsafe or unwelcome. We recognise that in making light of these experiences we feed into the idea that these behaviours are okay. They very simply are not. Our actions trivialised the traumatic experiences members of our community feel.”
A cast member told Critic Te Arohi that the statement seemed to have come out of the blue, released with little notification or consultation with the cast, and over a month and a half after the performances.
As of the time of writing, it had received 28 reactions on Facebook — including, rather intriguingly, two “haha” reacts.
This is believed to be the first time a student-led performance at Otago Uni has resulted in a public apology being made. Whether this statement will have any impact on future performances, such as the other schools’ Revues or the Capping Show, remains to be seen.