Massey University disgraces free speech tradition
7 AUGUST 2018
In blocking former Leader of the Opposition and Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash from speaking on campus tomorrow, Massey University disgraces an important tradition of free speech on university campuses and a fundamental tenet of a liberal democracy.
Massey University’s Vice-Chancellor appears to have capitulated to the veiled threats of protesters, cancelling the event for ‘security’ reasons.
Free Speech Coalition spokesman Dr David Cumin says, “Publicly-funded universities in New Zealand and across the western world have a proud tradition of upholding freedom of speech. If we allow the ‘heckler’s veto’ to shut down contentious speech at a university, a place that should be a bastion of free expression, what hope can we have for free speech anywhere else?”
“Hecklers and thugs have been emboldened by Auckland Council’s recent capitulation on similar grounds. That’s why the Free Speech Coalition is pressing ahead with court action to prevent a dangerous precedent where a minority can shut down any speech by threatening violent protest.”
“The Police need to put their hands up and restate their commitment to protecting freedom of speech from would-be violent protesters.”
“Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas must reverse her decision *and ensure that she works with authorities to provide a safe environment for the expression of ideas on her campus. The fundamental role of universities is to foster dissenting views, debate, throw light on and challenge the establishment, but certainly not shut down speech. This is a disgraceful act from a university leader.”