A kangaroo-hunting, beer-drinking 22-year-old student has been appointed Australian academia’s first “heterosexuality officer” with a vague mission to safeguard straight rights, a newspaper reported this week.
The student association at the University of New England in rural northern New South Wales state appointed third-year law student Dave Allen to the position earlier this year, The Australian newspaper reported.
Many universities in Australia have gay and lesbian student groups, which receive a portion of their funding from mandatory student union fees paid by every student. The federal government, however, has recently announced plans to make the payment of such fees voluntary, prompting protests from students around the country who say the quality of student life on campus will decline if funds are cut.
Allen’s appointment appears to be aimed more at protesting alleged preferential treatment for gay students than protecting heterosexuals from marginalization. When asked what his duties were, he replied: “None at the moment.”
Craig Comrie, the gay officer for Australia’s National Union of Students, said he thought the appointment was a form of backlash.
“The reasons why queer departments are set up is because those students are disadvantaged on campus,” the newspaper quoted Comrie as saying. “I think it’s just a really unfair reaction to the fact that student unions support queer activism and women’s activism on campus.”
Allen said he had no objection to homosexuality as long as gays and lesbians weren’t being given special treatment.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re straight, gay, Black, White or brindle,” he said. “But when it starts getting, ‘Oh, we need a space for us to hang out,’ it’s crap. Just come down (to) the pub and have a few beers with us.”
— Associated Press
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