Massey University must front-up and explain Jan Thomas Correspondence
19 September 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Massey University must front up and explain why the Vice Chancellor’s public statements that it was her concerns about security that prompted her to deplatform former Reserve Bank Governor and Leader of the Opposition Dr. Don Brash from speaking at the University when documents obtained under the Official Information Act appear to demonstrate otherwise.
Free Speech Coalition spokesman Dr David Cumin says “These documents call into question many of the Vice Chancellor’s public statements about respecting free speech. To the contrary, it appears Professor Thomas was keen to ‘ban’ Dr Brash on the basis of his views.”
“On the face of them, these documents even suggest Professor Thomas mislead Massey’s Academic Board Chair. We are calling on Massey University to investigate these matters, which if proven, obviously warrant dismissal.”
“In western societies, universities enjoy a privileged status on the basis of their commitment to academic freedom. When they come under assault from populist governments or anti-intellectual movements who want to dismantle that status, the academic elite rightly argue that they are the critic and conscience of society. Professor Thomas’ actions imply Massey has abandoned those principles.”
"In terms of our legal action - these documents are very significant. Our legal action against Phil Goff showed that he had lied in relation to his purported decision to 'ban' two Canadian speakers from Council-owned venues, when the truth was it was a decision made totally by officials relation to specific security concerns. Here, the Vice-Chancellor claimed her decision related to security concerns, but in-fact it is very clear it was based on her personal dislike of Dr Brash and his views."
"On the basis of these documents, we think the Vice Chancellor has gone out to attack Dr Brash, and the Free Speech Coalition, in relation to her media statement that Dr Brash 'is a supporter' of Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux. Of course the Free Speech Coalition are not supporters of the Canadians, but formed to protect their rights to speak - and New Zealanders right to hear them. The Vice Chancellor would certainly know there was a difference, but maliciously made the slur anyway."