The rot in tertiary education on show

When Don Brash was “uninvited” on August 7 to a speaking engagement at Massey University, Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas cited “security concerns” as a reason. But emails released under the Official Information Act revealed that the Vice-Chancellor’s “concerns” had festered for weeks and they were nothing to do with security.

Her concerns could be traced back to May 13, to a complaint to the VC about a person debating against Maori wards on the Massey University Palmerston North campus who refused to be present during an incantation in Maori.

That person was Don Esslemont, who had worked for 25 years as a senior lecturer – at Massey University in Palmerston North.  

As you may see from the Tremain cartoon above, the ban on Don Brash has stirred up a huge debate with more humour and ridicule than we at Hobson’s Pledge could ever have dreamed up.

And the target is not Don Brash, or Hobson’s Pledge. The target is the Vice Chancellor, who has faced one call for censure and many for her resignation.

But the Vice-Chancellor does have a few supporters.

Tertiary Education Union continues to support her, although a member of that union complained that such support for the VC “infers that the rules of free speech should not apply in the case of Dr Brash”.

See The Massey free speech timeline

High Court backs race-based deprivation discount

The High Court has upheld a judge's decision to discount an offender's jail sentence by a third because of her Maori cultural background and deprivation, despite opposition from the Solicitor-General.

The discount was given to Rachael Heta by Judge Soana Moala after she pleaded guilty to two charges of causing grievous bodily harm and one of common assault earlier this year.

Heta had stabbed her partner four times in his chest and armpit as he lay in bed. His lung was punctured. He spent a fortnight in hospital.

Hobson’s Pledge holds that a race-based anything is by definition racist. A discounted jail term based on race and deprivation combines racism with injustice.

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