Finally dissent from a Massey academic

Bravo to , a Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor at . He has written this article dissenting from the censorship decision of the VC.

Hard to work out how senior an academic Gallavin is. Once upon a time only two academics had the chancellor part in their name – VC and Pro VC. Now it seems dozens get it.

As far as I can tell the hierarchy is:

  1. VC
  2. Deputy VC
  3. Pro VCs
  4. Assistant VCs
  5. Deputy Pro VCs
  6. Deputy Assistant VCs

Anyway Gallavin says:

Let me be clear, I do not agree with the political views on te Tiriti as expressed by Dr Don Brash. I do, however, believe the decision of Dr Jan Thomas, Vice Chancellor of Massey University, to cancel a speaking engagement of Dr Brash on our Manawatu campus this week, to be unequivocally wrong.

Strong but welcome words.

It is unfortunate, but the world seems to have lost the ability to disagree well. Civility in our discussions and debates over contentious issues seems to have been lost. We are increasingly polarised in our views with recourse to extreme positions in order to ‘prove’ or force our point. However, the answer is not to avoid difficult and, at times, confronting conversations. Rather, community leaders, and universities in particular, play a vital role in leading our communities in those discussions, as difficult as they may be, applying the principles of informed discussion, compromise, enlightenment of the points of view of others, and if all else fails, respectful disagreement.

Hear hear.

From what I can see, Dr Don Brash is not a proponent of hate speech. Is he polarising? Yes. Part of a small minority? Perhaps. Entirely illegitimate and without rational foundation for anything he says? Probably not. Massey does not dishonour its goal of becoming te Tiriti led by allowing onto campus those who disagree with our core principles. In fact, seen as an opportunity to model how we might disagree well, a skill so desperately needed in the world today, allowing space for us to talk with those who disagree illustrates incredible maturity and leadership.

Great to see a senior Massey academic dissent. I hope we see more. The Council of Massey are the only ones who can over-rule the VC and they need to be convinced that you don;t back your CEO when they are so clearly wrong.

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