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 Excellent: NZ libertarian politician wants to cut funding to universities that don't protect free speech

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Excellent: NZ libertarian politician wants to cut funding to universities that don't protect free speech Vide
PostSubject: Excellent: NZ libertarian politician wants to cut funding to universities that don't protect free speech   Excellent: NZ libertarian politician wants to cut funding to universities that don't protect free speech Icon_minitimeMon Dec 02, 2019 2:37 am

ACT leader David Seymour, pictured speaking at Massey University, says universities should have their funding revoked if they don't protect free speech on campus.

Excellent: NZ libertarian politician wants to cut funding to universities that don't protect free speech 1575255195936


A libertarian politician wants to cut funding to universities that don't protect free speech.



ACT leader David Seymour has announced he has written the Education (Freedom of Expression) Amendment Bill, taking aim at universities that don't take the right steps to protect freedom of expression on their campuses, something Seymour has accused Massey University of doing by controversially refusing permission for Don Brash to speak at the Manawatū campus last year.



The bill says universities and tertiary education providers could have their funding revoked if they use the potential for mental harm to stop events or speakers on campus. It also says universities must create and uphold a code of practice that protects free speech.



The move comes soon after Massey University's provost Giselle Byrnes published a freedom of expression policy and a code of practice for external speakers at the university.




The code requires university staff inviting external speakers to complete a risk assessment form about the speaker. The questions include if the speaker is likely to attract negative media attention and protest, or if people might experience harassment or intimidation at the event.



A university officer will either accept or deny the request, and will be able impose conditions on the event if the request is accepted. The officer could refuse the event on the basis it may cause "physical, reputational and mental harm".



The policy states the university retains the right to refuse permission for invited speakers if the speaker's remarks are likely to be unlawful or make no contribution to scholarly activity.



In 2018, Massey vice-chancellor Jan Thomas was accused of stifling free speech when Brash was prevented from giving a talk on campus. Thomas cited health and safety reasons for the cancellation, but it was later revealed Thomas didn't want the university to be seen endorsing racist behaviours.



In a statement, Seymour said the risk of mental harm was being used as an excuse to cancel potentially controversial speaking events and universities were abusing their health and safety obligations to "deplatform" speakers.



"Avoiding mental harm to students has now become an excuse for universities to shut down free speech on campus. Students will not become confident, resilient adults if we turn universities into giant creches."



A Massey spokeswoman said the code and the policy had been in development since early 2019. The code defined processes and procedures already in place for external speakers, and made them aware of the "expectations around academic freedom, freedom of speech and equality and diversity".



Massey University Students' Association president Michael Salmon said he was consulted through the process and was happy with the the university's new policies.

He said the policy and code set out clear expectations for external speakers, so student groups organising talks had a clear process to follow when inviting people to speak on campus. It did not prevent student groups hosting talks off campus.



"It's just erring on the side of caution for the mental wellbeing of our students."



As well as the Brash saga, Massey has become embroiled in other free speech controversies over the past year.



In October, university staff removed posters depicting protests in Hong Kong at its Manawatū campus, and its Wellington campus withdrew as a venue for Feminism 2020, an event run by controversial feminist group Speak Up for Women, citing health and safety concerns.



https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/117771425/massey-accused-of-stifling-debate-by-placing-limits-on-free-speech



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Excellent: NZ libertarian politician wants to cut funding to universities that don't protect free speech Vide
PostSubject: Re: Excellent: NZ libertarian politician wants to cut funding to universities that don't protect free speech   Excellent: NZ libertarian politician wants to cut funding to universities that don't protect free speech Icon_minitimeMon Dec 02, 2019 3:06 am

"Avoiding mental harm to students has now become an excuse for universities to shut down free speech on campus. Students will not become confident, resilient adults if we turn universities into giant creches."


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