Free Speech Coalition
Last night, Massey University cancelled the “Feminism 2020” event, at which I was due to speak.

The event was organised by Speak Up for Women (an organisation that has featured on our podcast) and was to host a wide array of speakers on various topics related to women’s issues. However, some social justice activists believe Speak Up for Women is ‘exclusionary’ of transgender women. Supposedly, Speak Up for Women’s speech constitutes violence towards vulnerable identity groups.

Massey University initially resisted pressure from student activist groups to shut down the event. But Massey has now buckled, once again under the guise of “health and safety” obligations it has to its transgender students and the ‘wider community’. Read Massey’s public statement here.

Massey claims “We cannot accept any further risk or issues, or any risk of potential harm that may impact upon a particularly vulnerable community.”

This vague reasoning could be used to shut down literally any event. What is the point of a university that won’t facilitate events to exchange ideas?

I was going to speak on the breakdown of polite political discourse and the dangers of identity politics. Ironically, it is precisely this phenomenon to which Massey has kowtowed.

Help the Free Speech Coalition continue to pressure Massey.

I know that the Free Speech Coalition has already filed Official Information Act requests to get the real facts behind Massey’s decision. 

There’s an element of Déjà vu here: Massey is the same university that used health and safety as an excuse to cancel a Don Brash event. We understand that after the Free Speech Coalition exposed the vice-chancellor’s bias again Dr Don Brash, Massey’s enrolment numbers suffered as a result. Clearly, the impact was not strong enough.

As an educator myself, I am appalled by Massey’s cowardly betrayal of its students. What is a university, if not a place to share and test new ideas and challenge old ones?

Prospective students and their parents deserve to about Massey’s illiberal stance on free speech – a stance that will undoubtedly reduce the quality of education.

Some on the Left criticised the Free Speech Coalition for defending the rights of right-wing Canadian speakers. We note, in this case, it is left-wing feminists that we are defending.

That is why the Free Speech Coalition needs your continued support to fight censorship, close-mindedness, and the coddling of students. 

Thank you so much for your support,

Melissa Derby
Free Speech Coalition