Massey University chancellor steps down after 'sexist' remarks

  • 14/12/2016
Chris Kelly (Massey University)
Chris Kelly (Massey University)

Massey University Chancellor Chris Kelly has stepped down after making controversial remarks about female veterinary students.

In a recent interview with Rural News he said female vet graduates are worth "two-fifths" of a full-time equivalent vet.

"Having had time to carefully consider the views of many staff, students and stakeholders, I believe that it is in the interests of the university that I step aside," he said.

Mr Kelly told Rural News: "The problem is one woman graduate is equivalent to two-fifths of a full-time equivalent vet throughout her life because she gets married and has a family, which is normal."

The comments were criticised by many people online, including veterinary staff and Massey graduates. 

Massey-based wildlife hospital Wildbase posted a picture of its female staff, saying: "Some of you may be aware the Massey University chancellor has made the news for all the wrong reasons with some incredibly sexist, dated and misogynistic views on women in veterinary science. 

"We thought it was worth posting the current Wildbase team of vets and veterinary technicians who are awesome 100% of the time. Not our chancellor!"

Also in the interview Mr Kelly said 75-85 percent of vet students are women, who survive the first year of study because it is mostly academic.

"That's because women mature earlier than men, work hard and pass. Whereas men find out about booze and all sorts of crazy things during their first year."

Mr Kelly apologised on Tuesday for his comments. On Wednesday he said he is stepping down, effective immediately.

Mr Kelly worked as a veterinarian and for Landcorp 2013. In the Queen's Birthday Honours this year he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to agriculture.