At Uni Sydney, they’ll do it their way

The university proposes adopting the French review of free speech on campus by amending its own charter of academic freedom

A report going to Academic Board next month includes,

* extending academic freedom to comment to professional staff “engaged in academic activities”

* “clarifying” professional staff are “free to express their lawful opinions about the university

* “making clear” the university does not restrict/inhibit all staff making public comment in personal capacities

* “reaffirming” freedom of expression and protest, “respectful argument and disagreement are essential elements of the core mission of a university to advance knowledge”

If Academic Board adopts the proposal the university “should” review its non-statutory rules, codes and policies to ensure consistency with the new charter.

This could be a precedent for other universities considering how to handle Mr French’s recommendations. While coalition backbenchers may want universities to simply sign-up to his proposed code, no university is going to willingly accept a charter they cannot claim as their own. But with the Uni Sydney approach honour may be satisfied.


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