Free Speech Union releases first annual university ranking report

The Free Speech Union published the first Annual University Ranking Reporttaking a critical look at New Zealand universities’ free speech policies and practices, and “scoring” them as suppressing or encouraging academic freedom and free speech on campus, says Jonathan Ayling, spokesperson for the Free Speech Union.

“As an institution, the University is essential for introducing, challenging and disseminating ideas in New Zealand culture and society. It has a traditional and statutory role as the ‘critic and conscience’ of society and the Free Speech Union is determined to highlight universities that take up this responsibility and hold them to account when they fail to do so.

“The report analyzes the policies and reported practices of universities, as well as the perceptions of their own academic staff (as shown in the
Free Speech Union Annual Academic Survey) to determine where speech is freest on campus. It has been reviewed by the Academic Advisory Council of the Free Speech Union and presents a comprehensive overview of the state of free speech in universities.

“It is clear that institutions maintain their role as ‘criticism and conscience’ and those that seem to value their supposedly progressive reputation more than the ability of their staff and students to speak out and make research freely. The only university to receive a failing grade is Auckland University of Technology, which continues to show consistent opposition to free speech and its role as a “critic and conscience” of society.

“Despite the wide range of results, we believe that all universities can improve and we hope to engage constructively with Vice-Chancellors to modify and develop policy that enhances the freedom of their staff and students.

“We want this report to be updated annually to track developments in academic freedom and freedom of expression at New Zealand universities. We hope we will see steady improvement in the years to come.”

Linked here is the full Annual University Ranking Report
for your reference.

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