Massey allows controversial activist to speak

Tame Iti

Free Speech Coalition
By Rachel Poulain

Massey University?s invitation to activist Tame Iti as a ?resident activist? shows the university?s leadership has turned to facilitating controversial speech and this is welcomed by the Free Speech Coalition.

Massey University should be commended for its change of heart this week by inviting Mr Iti to be its newest activist in residence. This follows an illiberal period at the University during which it has instituted censorship.

In August last year, Massey University banned Dr Don Brash from speaking about his experiences as the National Party?s leader at a student-led event. Information released under the Official Information Act revealed that Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas disapproved of Dr Brash?s political views and actively sought ways of disinviting him.

Tame Iti?s background is far more controversial, and to some, objectionable, than that of Dr Brash. Unlike Iti, Brash has never been arrested during anti-terrorism raids or convicted of firearm offences.

Fortunately, Massey has gone above and beyond its obligation to facilitate the free exchange of ideas by generously allowing Mr Iti to host workshops.

We hope that Massey will lock in their pro-free speech credentials by inviting someone with a counter-viewpoint to Mr Iti?s views to be a resident activist on campus in future. This would demonstrate that the University is not merely protecting free speech only for one end of the political spectrum.