A good move from Auckland University

Better late than never. An open discussion on the role of matauranga Māori within the science curriculum is always what should have been the response to the letter from the seven academics. Discussion and even debate is the whole point of universities. Instead what we saw was the modern equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition with what can only be called a mass campaign of bullying.

It is good to see Auckland University now doing the right thing. It might have been forced into it, but it should still be welcomed.

The important lesson from all this is that institutions and people do respond to incentives. When a couple of leftish academics orchestrate a mass pile-on, then the institutions join in because their incentive is not to become the target themselves.

But due to the valiant efforts of journalists such as Graham Adams and Karl du Fresne, the Free Speech Union, and eminent global scientists, the institutions are learning that joining in the pile-on will mean they suffer adverse reputational consequences. This means that the incentives have changed, and hopefully in future the response to these issues will be “Let’s discuss this” rather than “Let’s denounce the heretics to prove how pure we are”.

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