Labour MP Jo Luxton – in a Parliamentary speech about academic freedom in this country – referred to the recent shooting in the United States by a young person who had been “radicalised and emboldened” by the mosque attacks in Christchurch a few years ago.
These were actions based on hate for someone of a different race or religion.
She referred, too, to the 23-day occupation of the grounds of Parliament by protesters earlier this year.
“Our place, the people’s place, was desecrated while people had a platform to spread their mis- and disinformation, where they spoke about freedom, freedom of speech, and they also spoke about hate.”
In defence of censorship on campus, in effect, she said she wanted her children to go out and explore the world and to attend university and other learning institutions.
“But I want to know they are as safe as possible while they do so. I can’t tag along to uni with them too, so, as parents, we put a lot of trust in those places—that they will do all that they can to keep our children safe, and that means minimising the risk of mental harm, minimising the risk of physical harm, which they are obliged to do under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
“This proposed piece of legislation takes that away.”
Hence she opposed a private member’s bill intended to enhance the right to freedom of expression within our universities. Continue reading “Censorship on campus – academic freedom bill is voted down by MPs who fear exposure to some ideas can be damaging to our health”
ACT MP James McDowall alerted us to new research showing an ominous level of apprehension among Kiwi academics about speaking freely at New Zealand universities. He said this highlights the urgent need for his Member’s Bill, which requires tertiary education institutions to protect freedom of expression.
Curia research, commissioned by the Free Speech Union, found almost half of the academics who responded are concerned about raising differing perspectives or discussing issues related to gender and sex and half don’t feel free to debate or discuss Treaty issues.
McDowall acknowledged that tertiary education institutions are required by the Education Act 1989 and the Bill of Rights Act 1990 to uphold academic freedom and freedom of expression.
But universities have barred speakers and cancelled events citing ‘mental harm’ to students.
“Essentially, there are no consequences if an institution actively inhibits freedom of expression without legitimate cause.”
His Bill requires tertiary education institutions to protect freedom of expression, including the issuing of codes of practice that set out the procedures students and staff should follow to uphold freedom of expression, and by ensuring that the requirements of codes of practice are met. Continue reading “Many academics are nervous about saying what they think – but they should be okay if what they say is mana-enhancing”
The National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies says on its website it is the only centre of its kind in New Zealand and it addresses the most enduring and intractable problems confronting humanity. It invites people to “join our passionate faculty to study development, peace-building and conflict transformation” and it offers a Master of Peace and Conflict Studies degree, one of very few such programmes in Australasia. But it is not without its own troubles. KARL DU FRESNE reports:
Sometimes irony is just too delicious for words.
The Otago Daily Times recently reported that the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago has been exposed as having a culture described as “toxic”, “paralysing”, “isolating” and “divisive”.
Those words come from a confidential 31-page report leaked to the ODT, which said the centre is known on campus as the “conflict and conflict” centre. The report described the centre as dysfunctional, with “deeply entrenched conflicts”. Perhaps they could use themselves as a case study.
It’s a story that falls squarely into the “you couldn’t make this up” category, but which seems, for reasons that I couldn’t speculate on, to have been ignored by the wider New Zealand media. Continue reading “Otago University pioneers bold new approach to the study of conflict”
Young people aspiring to study Indigenous demography and data sovereignty, temporary migration, Pacific health equity and stuff like that might be tempted to check out what happens at an academic establishment called the University of Waikato’s National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis.
They might be steered to the institute’s website by googling “population studies NZ “. We quickly found it here.
But the clever people who run the institute have decided the institute’s name is too obvious. Or too functional. Or too prosaic.. Or too wordy. Or perhaps too colonialist.
They have gone into the rebranding caper and opted to call the institute Te Ngira.
A quick check with a Maori dictionary leaves us wondering about the reasoning.
- (loan) (noun) needle.
“Needle” (if we were to put that on the signage in English) might be good name for a Covid vaccination centre, perhaps.
But for a national institute of demographic and economic analysis?
But if we do it in te reo – then it’s Te Ngira.
Great. Continue reading “They had an idea at NIDEA – let’s rebrand (they agreed) and give our institute a right royal new name”
Apart from a few readers of the Marginal Revolution blog most people will not have heard of the University of Austin.
In part, perhaps, because it doesn’t exist yet.
Continue reading “The best news you (probably) haven’t read about”
Malcolm Harbrow has raised a good question on his No Right Turn blog: have Professor Anne-Marie Brady’s employers committed a contempt of Parliament by gagging her and subjecting her work to a secret review?
Brady’s work has become the subject of an unseemly wrangle among local and overseas academics over the University of Canterbury’s internal review of a paper that claims New Zealand universities and businesses may be helping China’s military ambitions.
Academics named in the paper have complained while other academics have expressed support for Brady.
Dr Catherine Churchman, lecturer in Asian Studies at Victoria University, dipped into the wrangle in a Newsroom article which notes Brady’s likely influence on a shift in New Zealand’s relations with China. Continue reading “Contempt of Parliament question is raised over university’s treatment of professor who warns about China”
Our daily check with the Beehive website draw a blank. Nothing has been announced there since the PM announced the offender responsible for the Christchurch terror attack on 15 March 2019 has been designated as a terrorist entity.
But elsewhere in our monitoring of the political scene we found the Māori Party is hot and bothered about goings-on in the education domain . The item was headlined Racism In Education, Second Pandemic In Aotearoa
The Māori Party candidate for Te Tai Tonga, Tākuta Ferris, and Waiariki candidate, Rawiri Waititi, said in the statement they “believe institutional racism within the education system is holding this nation back”.
Ferris raged that:
“This week has highlighted the second pandemic taking hold of this nation, the pandemic of racism in Aotearoa – but particularly in the Aotearoa education system.”
Oh dear. What shameful acts have given risen to this? Continue reading “Māori Party reports a pandemic of racism – but on close inspection we find only two universities infected (maybe)”
The question of what process should be followed before people can change the genders recorded on their birth certificates may well have been discussed on Massey University’s Wellington campus.
Trouble is, a bunch of students with firm ideas on the subject and a militant urge to muzzle contrary ideas staged a sit-in and pressed for the university to cancel the event.
Massey’s administrators – anxious to cocoon sensitive staff and students from information or arguments that might offend or upset them – accordingly advised Speak Up For Women to find an alternative venue for its Feminism 2020 event.
The University has received external advice on its health, safety and wellbeing obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and its duty of care to the University community, and has made the decision on these grounds.
The legal advice we have received is that cancellation of the event, as concluded by the report, is the only way to eliminate the risk to health and safety and to ensure that the University would not be in breach of its health and safety obligations.
Massey University declared itself to be committed to the values of academic freedom, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of expression, “as values that lie at the very heart of the tradition of a university and academic inquiry”. But … Continue reading “Shhh! The case of a British paedophile who was locked up with women is best not discussed on a Massey campus”
We are delighted to report the great news reflected in a heading on a news item from Massey University.
It says Auspicious’ moon shines over construction start and appears on an item illustrated by Auckland campus staff, students and construction workers who have gathered for the blessing of the site of a new building.
The moon happened to be moving into a full phase at the time of the ceremony. According the kaumatua who officiated, this is a good omen for the project.
So what is being built? A Maori studies centre, where indigenous myths and spiritual beliefs can be taught and questioned?
Nope. A science centre is the beneficiary of the moon’s serendipitous position in the sky.
This is the site of Massey’s new Innovation Centre at the Auckland campus. Continue reading “It’s a blessing for Massey science teachers and students that an auspicious’ moon was shining over construction site”
An organisation which mounted a protest against Don Brash’s participation in the debate at the University of Auckland last night has yet to build a reputation for public service as impressive – or notorious, depending on your point of view – as his.
The organisation is “A New University“.
Point of Order could find no website in that name during a somewhat quick Google search but at Scoop we did found it has issued three press statements in recent months.
The first and third statements carry no names of spokespersons.
The second statement, however, said the organisation is composed of staff, students, and alumni, along with concerned community members. It named Vanessa Harvey as spokesperson. Continue reading “The shouting down of Don Brash shows decolonised democracy in action”