Lincoln University’s communications team has emailed staff asking them not to talk directly to the media. However, TEU national president Lesley Francey says that undermines staff’s right to academic freedom.
“These changes directly affect the courses they offer and the work their students do. With up to one in ten staff losing their jobs the quality of students’ education will suffer. Staff have a legislated right of academic freedom to speak out on exactly these types of issues.”
The university’s email to staff asks them to refer all calls through to the communications team:
“This is to ensure the university is dealing with requests for information in a consistent and timely way. The comms team will then identify the right person to call the journalist back… bearing in mind that the vice-chancellor or his delegate is the official spokesperson for the university on the change proposals.”
Lesley Francey says staff not only have a right as interested individuals to discuss publicly what is happening to their courses, their research and their students, they also, in some instances have a legal duty.
“It’s not appropriate that the only voice the public should hear telling them what is happening at Lincoln should be the vice-chancellor who proposed and is driving these changes.”
TEU is happy to give advice to any individual or group of members who want to make public comment.