Steven Joyce’s threat to cut the University of Auckland’s funding unless it teaches what he wants is a direct attack on academic freedom, says TEU national president Sandra Grey.
“The Minister is trampling over the University of Auckland’s institutional autonomy and over academic freedom, as legislated for in the Education Act.”
Dr Grey says it is naïve to think the government should have no say in what universities do, but that should not come at the expense of their independent and democratic autonomy.
“Universities have institutional autonomy in order to ensure that these institutions are able to critique governments, politicians, and ministers, as well as others who hold power in New Zealand. Without institutional autonomy, and with threats such as the Minister has made that ‘I’m watching them [University of Auckland] really closely’, our universities risk becoming puppets of the state.”