Speaking freely at UniMelbourne

Glyn Davis has hosted a discussion on his excellent University of Melbourne Pursuit podcast, on the high-principles of academic freedom.  And while it focused on what can be said, who can say it also came up. UniMelb professor and ARC Laureate Fellow Adrienne Stone suggested that academic freedom could also apply to other university people.

“Staff of the university who are not academics who nonetheless seem to be probably clearly covered by at least a form of academic freedom, so if you think about somebody like research assistants or lab assistants, maybe even librarians who are kind of collaborative and getting engaged in research tasks, I think that they equally deserve a measure of freedom in the way in which they undertake that, which we might call academic freedom, although they might be subject to direction by other academics who, after all, are directing them in the interests of carrying out the mission of the university.”

Good-o, but how to protect speakers? There was something of a stoush over this last year as management and union at UniMelbourne argued over whether a free-speech clause should be stated in the next enterprise agreement, university policy, or both (CMM August 28 2017). The argument seems to be settled – CMM hears there is progress on academic and freedom and freedom of communication for staff.


to get daily updates on what's happening in the world of Australian Higher Education