Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Importance of Communicating Freely

In the chapter, The Importance of Communicating Freely, Nithaya Chetty raises concerns about lack of openness and academic freedom at UKZN. He refers to a recent Senate resolution that staff exercise due care when communicating with the media so as not to ‘bring the university into disrepute.’ Nithaya argues that what counts as bringing the university into disrepute needs to be specifically and narrowly defined in terms of racism, dishonesty, etc. His worry is that the emphasis on ‘confidentiality’ within the university may lead to important issues, like transformation or equity, being ‘limited only to normal structures within the University’ and debated in a context of ‘fear of retribution.’ Nithaya refers to concerns expressed by the Freedom of Expression Institute about the ‘severe decline’ in ‘free expression and academic freedom’ at UKZN. Ironically it could be argued that it is this which is bringing the university into disrepute.

Chetty, Nithaya. 'The Importance of Communicating Freely', in Rob Pattman and Sultan Khan (Eds.), Undressing Durban (Durban: Madiba Press, 2007), pp. 433-436.