The prestigious University of WA has been dragged into a racial row over comments in the student guild's satirical Prosh newspaper.
The comments, which have been widely condemned on social media and in State Parliament, were published on Wednesday in a column called "Dream time horoscopes".
Deputy Labor leader Roger Cook said in State Parliament yesterday the column contained "incredibly offensive, racial generalisations (which are) potentially vilification". "We all read (it) in light- hearted tones because we understand its irreverence and that it raises money for charity, but (it) can do equally as much damage through the expression of ignorance or racist attitudes," he said.
"Let us not sit back for a moment and don't call these things for what they are, because it's important that we as a community stand as one against that ignorance and those attitudes."
The Indigenous Communities Education and Awareness Foundation, one of four charities to benefit from funds raised by Prosh, said it had considered refusing to take the money but decided it should be put towards developing a more tolerant community.
Foundation chief executive Lockie Cooke said the Prosh article was "racist" and a "particularly negative stereotype" of indigenous people and culture.
"It highlights a lack of understanding of indigenous issues by making a joke out of things that are actually causing so much sadness in a lot of communities, such as petrol sniffing," he said.
Guild president Cameron Barnes said he had received many complaints and would apologise to each complainant.
"With the guidance of the WA Student Aboriginal Corporation, the indigenous students' group on campus, we are looking at how to remedy this situation and to ensure that it will not happen again," he said.
"This includes changing policies and guidelines on what can be included in Prosh and how it is approved."
UWA vice-chancellor Paul Johnson said Prosh had clearly breached acceptable community standards.
However, he was heartened that the guild had taken prompt steps to apologise."The university does not condone its content and regrets the offence caused to students, staff and the broader community," Professor Johnson said.