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Free Speech Union’s Jonathan Ayling pens “A long letter, but an important one” as OIA reveals deep opposition to free speech in NZ universities

Summarised by Centrist

Free Speech Union’s Jonathan Ayling pens a lengthy missive on how universities are actively working against the principles of free discourse, prompting a call for public action. 

Bigotry and opposition to free speech are alive and well throughout several of NZ’s institutions of  higher learning. 

One significant example involves Victoria University, where a free speech panel discussion was postponed due to accusations of racism and far-right affiliations against panellists. 

A nearly 600 page OIA request revealed staff and students vehemently opposing the inclusion of Ayling and Dr Michael Johnston on the grounds they are “racist”. 

Ayling “in particular is a far-right wing zealot”. Yet, no substantial evidence was provided to support these claims.

Ayling calls out claims that Māori were excluded from the event. ACT leader David Seymour was invited, but had to cancel due to a Cabinet meeting. 

“But it shows there were Māori willing to participate in the discussion – just not the ‘right’ kind of Māori, clearly,” writes Ayling. 

He also takes the University of Auckland to task for its draft free speech policy, which appears authoritarian; granting the university the power to limit speech based on its policies, undermining true academic freedom. 

“It’s not a ‘free speech’ policy when it gives the veto power to ‘the University’ and its ‘policies’; free speech is allowing everyone to have their say, no matter their perspective,” he writes. 

Read more over at The Free Speech Union

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