Massey buys Chinese influence with gift degree

Posted By TEU on Jun 18, 2015 | 15 comments

Tertiary Update Vol 18 No 19

Massey vice-chancellor Steve Maharey’s email to staff this week tells the tale of how profit motives are tainting academic credibility says TEU national president Sandra Grey.

Maharey wrote in his regular e-log to staff this week that a doctorate the university conferred on the wife of the Chinese president has helped Massey secure hundreds of thousands of dollars of funding from the Chinese government.

Maharey says the university followed up the gifting of the doctorate to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s wife Madame Peng with a lobbying visit from Chancellor Chris Kelly and another honorary doctorate recipient, Sir Richard Taylor.

During the visit Massey signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Scholarship Council which will see 120 Chinese academics taking agriculture and food-related programmes through the university.

Maharey told staff that conferring the honorary degree lies behind the $2 billion announcement last week that Massey animal scientists would act as consultants to help China increase its red meat production.

In the immediate future, Massey staff will be involved in a $440,000 project, he said.

Grey says this is money for degrees.

“Honorary degrees should recognise a person’s contribution to a field of knowledge. To gift them either in reward for or expectation of financial gain is unethical and antithetical to a university’s purpose.”

“This type of honorary degree does the opposite – it dishonours all those who studied hard for their doctorate.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Wānanga council lacks democratic safeguards
  2. Joyce ‘proud’ of budget cuts
  3. More students, fewer staff at EIT
  4. Minister asked where’s the education in Warkworth

Other news

Staff, students and trade union members will be represented on the governing bodies of Scottish universities, if new proposals unveiled today go ahead.- Holyrood

Tauranga’s Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and Rotorua’s Waiariki Institute of Technology could merge by the beginning of next year –Bay of Plenty Times

The bosses of New Zealand’s biggest companies enjoyed an average pay rise of 10 per cent last year, their biggest bump since 2010 – NZ Herald

Photos from kaumatua Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru’s TEU retirement function – Flickr

The minions are looking for a supervillain to serve. Let’s hope they don’t find one in NZ – Twitter

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