Tudge calls for all to adopt free speech code

“I want all universities to adopt this as soon as possible,” the education minister says

The Senate has passed the legislation imposing the French free speech code on universities and Education Minister Alan Tudge says, “all universities have agreed to adopt the French Model Code, but not enough have policies that are fully aligned. I want all universities to adopt this as soon as possible.”

Almost all have in whole, or nearly acceptable part, but UNSW was named among a handful of hold-outs in Sally Walker’s review of compliance (CMM December 9). VC Ian Jacobs tells staff the university intends, “to adopt the code, except where it offers less protection of freedom of speech than the UNSW position. Where that is the case it has been modified to reflect our position that freedom of speech at UNSW is no different to that elsewhere in Australia and is only limited by the law,” (CMM March 4).  Consultation on the university’s proposed code closes Friday.

So, how will the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency deal with universities that don’t align?

“While the Bill does not amend the TEQSA Act, the Government has signalled its intent to update the Higher Education Standards Framework to give effect to the recommendations (in the French code). TEQSA is awaiting the finalisation of these new standards,” the agency advised last night.

“TEQSA’s approach to assessing provider compliance will be consistent with our standards and risk-based approach to quality assurance and regulation,” it added.

But what will Mr Tudge do about any universities that don’t align? And how might UNSW respond?

Beats CMM. Yesterday morning we asked both and if either ever tell CMM, we will tell you.