Invercargill mayor and 1960s protest figure Tim Shadbolt and distinguished NZ film-maker Gaylene Preston have added their names to the list of those calling for the administration at Victoria University to lift the two-year trespass ban it imposed recently on Wellington workers’ rights activists Joel Cosgrove and Heleyni Pratley.
Cosgrove, a former students association president, and Pratley, a former student executive member, were trespassed for taking part in a protest against fee increases by the University Council. At the protest Cosgrove threw one egg, which he later cleaned up, and Pratley held a sign calling for free education.
The pair were then arrested and charged with trespass when they tried to deliver a petition signed by academics and trade union figures calling for the trespass order to be lifted.
“It seems that Victoria is keeping up its reputation as the most uptight University in New Zealand. I remember in the late 60s we had a University Arts Festival there and a small group of us went to sleep in the Common Room and were all arrested for trespass. Universities should be the last bastion of free speech and democracy,” said Mayor Shadbolt, in a message of support to the campaign to get the trespass orders lifted.
Cosgrove and Pratley have welcomed the support, saying that the longer the administration maintain the trespass order the more draconian and silly it makes the University appear. END