20 Sep 2018

Massey Uni Vice Chancellor has no intention of resigning

6:49 pm on 20 September 2018

Massey University's Vice Chancellor has told students and staff she has no intentions of resigning after she misled the public over the cancellation of a Don Brash speech on campus last month.

Massey University vice-chancellor Jan Thomas and Don Brash

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Jan Thomas banned Don Brash from speaking at a Massey University Campus in August citing security reasons.

Emails since obtained under the Official Information Act show that a month before the planned event Dr Thomas said she did not want the university to be seen to be endorsing racist behaviour.

Speaking at a student forum in Wellington today Dr Thomas told students there are a lot of people calling for her resignation, but she has no intention to.

She thought she was doing the right thing when she send the emails, Dr Thomas said.

"I have absolutely tried to live my life, and particularly my professional life, with a level of integrity and I think those emails don't necessarily reflect my fundamental belief in that, that I have held throughout my entire career, so I regret that" Dr Thomas told the crowd.

"I particularly regret that it has caused a lot of distress and potentially distrust in my leadership - so it is what it is, I accept that, and I take full responsibility for it," Dr Thomas said.

Dr Thomas stood by her view that there should be some restrictions in place on what people can say on public forums.

"There are limits where there is non-evidence based targeting of groups of people based on a particular characteristic that they have, rather than any idea they have or anything. For example with ethnicities, gender fluidity, those sorts of things,"

"If that voice leads to damage, psychological damage, or silencing, or suppression of those particular groups of people, I personally have some challenges with that," Dr Thomas said.