Deakin U announces new speech codes

They look largely in-line with what former chief justice Robert French recommended in his report to the Commonwealth

VC Iain Martin tells staff the two new policies were drafted by Academic Board and University Council.

Freedom of speech: Covers staff, students and visitors to the university: The policy affirms the principles where people can speak, sets out cases where they may not and affirms a right to peaceful protest. But overall the policy can be applied however management wants; “Where multiple conflicting views exist in the lawful exercise of freedom of speech, the university’s duty to foster the wellbeing of students and staff will be used as a guiding principle in deciding on an organisational response,” (Clause 13).

However, as with the new Uni Sydney policy, it does limit “wellbeing,” which, “does not extend to a duty to protect any person from feeling offended or shocked or insulted by the lawful speech of another.”

This is the line proposed by Mr French in his model code, commissioned by Education Minister Tehan.

Academic freedom: The new policy looks much like the 2013 academic freedom policy, “recognised” in the current Enterprise Agreement, and the code of conduct, which covers academic activity but also allows academic staff to “make comments, “as long as the staff member does so in their private capacity and does not claim to represent the university.”


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