They are academics, not public servants

Stuff reports:

The boss of the country’s mega polytech has told all staff – including academics – they are “public servants” and must remain politically neutral ahead of this year’s general election.

The apparent muzzling order from Te Pūkenga chief executive Peter Winder has prompted a swift backlash, as academic freedom has protection under law.

In a statement sent to thousands of staff, Winder said: “As a Crown entity, Te Pūkenga and all of our people are public servants.

“That means we have obligations of confidentiality, neutrality and separating our personal views from professional roles.”

This is clearly wrong. Academics are not public servants. They have academic freedom to criticise Governments, parties and policies. This is in the law.

What is concerning is that the person in charge of the entire polytechnic sector doesn’t seem to know or understand this.

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