Some good ideas from David Farrar

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas Photo credit: Massey university.
Digital image credit: Pixy

Arts, lifestyle and fitness blogger, David Farrar, has some good ideas for challenging Massey University: Quote:

Universities are meant to be bastions of free speech. They should be the last places that should be banning someone for their views, let alone a former National Party Leader. If we let this one ride, then it will only get worse.

So I have some ideas for activism. Feel free to comment which ones are most worth doing. But we have to do something.

  1. A?Boycott Massey graduates campaign. Encourage employers to announce they will hire no graduates from Massey because it is obviously a university which is hostile to diversity of thought, so one can?t trust any graduates to have been as rigorously tested as on other campuses. The boycott to cease only when Thomas rescinds her ban and apologises.
  2. Turn the Free Speech Coalition into a permanent group?to fight this stuff. Fundraise heaps for a legal fighting fund, staff, advertisements.
  3. E-mail Massey Council members?asking them to rein in Thomas and tell her to respect the requirement of academic freedom in the Education Act.? ?
  4. Amend the Human Rights Act to?require one of the Human Rights Commissioners to be a dedicated Free Speech Commissioner?who can then fight these battles with Government resource. Sure many don?t like the HRC, but it isn?t going away so try and use it for good in this battle.?Tim Wilson in Australia?was very effective as a de facto Free Speech Commissioner.
  5. Target Massey?s funding. Identify major donors to Massey and request meetings with them to make the case for why they should donate to one of the other universities that doesn?t ban speakers on the personal whim of the VC.
  6. Target secondary school students and advise them not to enrol at Massey?due to its hostility to free speech. One can hand out flyers at schools up and down the country.
  7. Seek a judicial review?of the decision of the Vice-Chancellor under the Education Act and Bill of Rights Act.
  8. Lobby the Government to reduce funding?to universities that don?t uphold free speech, as it being looked at in the UK
  9. A?petition to the??Council?demanding they over-rule the VC

These are just off the top of my head. Some of them may be bad ideas, but hopefully not all of them. Are there any others that should be looked at?

The one thing we shouldn?t do is shrug and say well this is where society is going, and we can?t do anything about it. We have widespread support to fight this. Many on the left are appalled at this, such as academics Andrew Geddis and Jarrod Gilbert. We can?t afford to allow a Vice-Chancellor to unilaterally ban people from speaking on campus on such a flimsy pretext.

One of the great things about NZ is we have largely avoided the extremism and polarisation of politics that the US had. This act by the Massey VC is something you expect in the US with its culture wars. It has no place in NZ. If it is allowed to stand, then it will be a defining moment for us. End quote.

My favourites are Numbers 2, 4, 5, and 7.