Massey steps in

October 8th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I blogged previously about the outrageous antics and rorting at EXMSS, the Massey Extra-Mural Students’ Society.

EXMSS is primarily funded by Massey University, and many (including the local newspaper and myself) have called on them to intervene. It seems they have listened. The university has e-mailed students:

From today Massey University will deliver the services it previously funded EXMSS to deliver to distance (extramural) students. These include advocacy services and administration of hardship grants.

The University wants its students to have uninterrupted access to these services, particularly as they are preparing for exams.

Distance students seeking assistance with these services or information about them should phone the Massey University Contact Centre.

Hopefully this means the EXMSS President will no longer be able to get their friends to keep voting her a larger salary for a part-time job.


An editorial on Massey’s EXMSS

October 3rd, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Manawatu Standard editorial:

There are some serious problems at Massey University’s Extramural Students’ Society, and they wdill not be resolved by the president sticking her head in the sand and hoping they will go away.

I don’t think she wants them resolved. She wants to continue in her job regardless.

In April, Ms Chapman dismissed the vice-president; in May she dissolved the society’s executive; and the following month she appointed three new members to the executive to “pass budgets”. That same executive then agreed to a proposal from Ms Chapman to increase her $20,000 annual salary, allegedly to $50,000, for her part-time position.

$50,000 for a part-time job!

The reality she faces, however, is that a significant number of the members she represents have serious concerns about how she has discharged her duties and it is incumbent upon her to address those concerns. Instead, she has rebuffed calls for a special general meeting of the society to discuss the issues and has refused to respond to news media inquiries.

If Ms Chapman is as assured as she appears that all her actions are constitutional and in the best interests of her members, one would have thought she would be eager to dispel the aspersions that have been cast on her leadership.

While Massey University has understandably steered clear of what is effectively an internal students’ society matter, the time has come for the university to bring some pressure to bear, officially or otherwise.

The very public spat between Ms Chapman and her members reflects poorly on Massey and does nothing to encourage people to enroll in its extramural courses. The university provides funding to the society through a service agreement, so it has some leverage that could be used to help resolve this unfortunate episode.

The university are the body that forces all Massey extra-mural students to fund EXMSS. They are culpable for what is happening. Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey should intervene and tell EXMSS there will be no more money unless they have proper accountability.

Dom Post on Race Relations Commissioner

May 28th, 2008 at 7:59 am by David Farrar

The Dominion Post is not impressed with that the Race Relations Commissioner is launching a a review into the research done by Massey academic Greg Clydesdale into Pacific Island immigration.

Interviewed this week, Mr de Bres seemed as irritated by the fact that the research was done at all and that a media outlet had the temerity to report it as with any “issues” that the study might have raised. The commissioner seems unhappy that the paper gained access to Dr Clydesdale’s research and to believe – erroneously – that those who disagreed with it had no chance to comment.

He needs to reread the article. Pacific Island Affairs Minister Winnie Laban was quoted as seriously rejecting Dr Clydesdale’s findings, which may well be flawed. So was Samoan Advisory Council spokesman Tino Pereira.

Mr de Bres seems in danger of forgetting this is a democracy, in which academics have the freedom their institutions allow them to comment and critique society and newspapers have the right not only to report such comment and criticism but also to decide what prominence to give what is, by any definition, news. …

Mr de Bres is entitled to his review. But if it does not find that it is totally legitimate for an academic to research immigration policy and for the media to report it, then the review will be flawed. Society is benefited in no way by political correctness taken to extremes.

It does all seem an extreme reaction to one academic study. The more worrying reaction is the reported comments by Labour Minister Shane Jones who allegedly said on Newstalk ZB that he had called Steve Maharey about the author.

The Association of University Staff should be very concerned about this, if correct. To have a Cabinet Minister contact the Vice-Chancellor (and a former colleague) because he disagrees with the research of an academic is obviously inappropriate and intimidating. Let alone boasting about it on radio and suggesting the academic should be teaching primary school children only.

So maybe the AUS could take a break from complaining about Massey students winning beauty contests and say something about Massey academics having academic freedom.

This is not to suggest that academic freedom means you can not criticise academics. Far from it. But to personally contact the Vice-Chancellor and advocate he should not be teaching at a tertiary level is very different from merely criticising.

Perhaps Mr Maharey (who seems to think being Vice-Chancellor is a part time job as he is still an MP) could reveal what he said back to Mr Jones.