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Education

Kiwis support university funding being contingent on academic freedom

Polling commissioned by the Free Speech Union and conducted by Curia Market Research shows that most New Zealanders (53%) support government funding to universities being partially contingent on upholding academic freedom, compared to only 19% who opposed this.
 |  The Informer  | 

This result is consistent with polling from last year, which showed 75% of Kiwis believe free speech is a ‘defining cultural value’, but a majority also believed that value is under threat, says Jonathan Ayling, Chief Executive of the Free Speech Union.

“The Government’s policy to withdraw funding from universities that fail in their core duties to defend the rights of academics to academic freedom is not only necessary to restore free speech in New Zealand; it’s a policy a majority of Kiwis support.

“Fewer than one in five Kiwis opposed the question, ‘Do you think government funding should be partially contingent on how well a university does in upholding academic freedom?’

“Academic freedom in New Zealand is under serious threat. The simple saga of Victoria University trying to host a panel discussion on free speech is just one example of many that illustrate this point.

“There are those within the university who are ideologically opposed to the basic freedoms that have led to the very function and flourishing of the university. If free speech and academic freedom are not maintained in universities, what is the point of the university? It’s indoctrination, not education.