An attempt to whitewash from Massey University

This week Massey University released a report it commissioned from Martin Jenkins titled?Cancellation of venue for Dr Brash speaking event: Independent report for the Massey University Council on lessons from this episode.

You can read the report here.

Professor Jan Thomas is Vice-Chancellor of Massey University.

We had a heads-up that the report was coming, but had been told to expect something that cleared Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas.? Instead, as we read the report, it became clear that it is not only an attempted whitewash, but its errors, omissions, and its whole approach reflect precisely what is?wrong?with Massey University.

Rather than considering whether the decision to ban Dr Brash was the right one, or elucidate why free speech is important at a university, it focuses on strengthening policies to?prevent?people feeling ‘culturally unsafe’ and makes recommendations to ensure the University’s decisions are consistent with its desire to be ‘Treaty-led’.

Rather than discussing why the University should stand up to the thugs and disruptors to ensure that students can hear controversial ideas, it focuses at how communication and media were managed following the Official Information Act requests by the Free Speech Coalition. It recommends more PR and media management!

In short, we think Massey stakeholders should be embarrassed ? it suggests the university has lost its way.? We have only had the report a few hours, but even a casual read-through is enough to identify numerous factual errors and omissions.? It has clearly been commissioned by the University in an attempt to protect Prof Thomas from having to step down as a result of her decision to ban Dr Brash from campus.? We don?t think it will work.

By coincidence, this week we have been working on a new campaign focused on showing why Massey needs to up its game. ?We are calling it ?Teach Massey? and you will hear more about it when we formally launch it early in the new year.

New ‘Teach Massey’ campaign launching in new year

Teach Massey will encourage prospective university students to choose an institution which respects free speech, debate, intellectual rigour, and not one that tries to shelter students from ideas or speakers that the university management consider controversial. ?We are basing it on similar campaigns which have worked well overseas to promote free speech on campuses.

Today?s events reconfirm why the efforts by the Free Speech Coalition are so badly needed.

Thank you for your support, and on behalf of the steering group, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a freely spoken 2019.

Jordan Williams
Free Speech Coalition