Making free speech safe for students

Universities will pick up the pace on protecting students from China in Australia from the harassment and intimidation identified by the Human Rights Watch report (CMM June 30)

The Universities Foreign Interference Taskforce has dedicated resources to dealing with the sorts of issues HRW reported. This appears to signal a switch from a UFIT focus on threats to staff and risks to research. Consistent advice on what universities can do to protect students from intimidation from agents and supporters of the Chinese Government is expected later this year.

It is expected to include protections already in-place in the US and UK, including anonymising students in on-line politics classes, upping support for students who feel at risk if they speak-up and lifting security for assignments.

But students in fear of speaking up are not the only people universities need to convince they can help their own – the parliamentary joint committee inquiring into foreign interference in universities heard evidence from Human Rights Watch, which could have solutions of its own.