The free speech coalition responds to Jan Thomas

Massey University disgraces free speech tradition

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 spokesperson Dr David Cumin

Free Speech coalition spokesperson 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.?

The comments on the Massey University page are overwhelmingly critical of the decision made to silence Don Brash using the Thug’s Veto. Here are just some of the responses to the decision to prevent Don Brash from speaking.

The ultimate responsibility is to learning and knowledge. Massey has failed because it has folded to extremists who allude to violence and integrity in the same breath.

By not allowing for a free exchange of views the university has bowed to the potential violence on the part of the liberal faction again. Here’s how the Nazis got into power except our lefties are the violent ones! Shut down the position and they’ll go away. Just not this time I’m afraid. If these people are intelligent then surely they can make up their own mind. it seems that their tactics are what the far right use. Very sad for democracy.

The hecklers veto cannot be accepted. If we’re now worried about “security” at speeches, then we’ve changed to a system of outright mob rule.

Massey is an agriculture institution that has expertise in animal byproducts, effluent & waste. Good to see the vice chancellor has immersed herself in effluent to try & jusify limiting a core tenant of any real university, namely freedom of speech.

I cannot believe Massey University has effectively empowered anti-free speech thugs of left-wing persuasion. This decision is an act of self-serving cowardice, and is not about ‘safety’. My son is contemplating which University to attend – it’s a big no for Massey University. Bad call.

This is the most appaling decision from a supposed experienced academic. There is no such thing as “hate speech” it is defined only by one’s views not everyones.

As an alumni of Massey University, I am disgusted by the stance you have taken to enforce the Thug?s veto and deny the opportunity for students to hear Don Brash speak.

By folding to the implied threats of Karl Pearce, you do a disservice to the University and the principles of education ? which should be to encourage debate and critique of all ideas.

Ideas such as giving women the vote and abolishing slavery were not welcomed at the time, but through discussion and challenging these ideas, society made significant progress.Instead we are now heading down the slippery slope where any idea that is disagreed with is shut down, rather than contested.

I am disgusted and ashamed…