For more than 50 years La Trobe has been an institution which has embraced free speech and enabled a robust diversity of views. The La Trobe University Act 2009 requires that the University serve the public interest by “promoting critical and free enquiry, informed intellectual discourse and public debate” and the La Trobe University Collective Agreement 2018 expressly addresses academic freedom and intellectual freedom.
In late 2018, the Minister of Education appointed Justice French to undertake an independent review of freedom of speech in Australian higher education. Following a period of national consultation, the French Review Report was published in May 2019. Whilst it found there is not a ‘free speech crisis’ at Australian universities, it recommended that protection for freedom be strengthened and proposed a Model Code. Minister Tehan has welcomed feedback from the sector (expressed by the Chancellors) that all universities will adopt the Model Code by 2020.
The Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom Working Group is co-convened by the Chair, Academic Board and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and has had, as its initial scope, to focus on the French Review Model Code, determine how it should be implemented at La Trobe in light of the current Collective Agreement and policy landscape, and consider implications for existing policies.
For further information, the WG Terms of Reference is available here.
Feedback is now invited on three new and several revised policies.
These changes, taken together, would enable the University to adopt the French Review Model Code without modification.
- NEW Protection of Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom policy;
- NEW Media Engagement policy;
- NEW External and Invited Speakers on Campus policy;
- REVISED Code of Conduct;
- REVISED Workplace Behaviours policy;
- REVISED Student Behaviours policy;
- REVISED Space Planning Booking and Usage procedure;
- REVISED Space Planning – City Campus and Charging procedure;
- REVISED Event Safety procedure.
The consultation period will close: 5pm, 25 October 2019
The WG will assess all feedback received and make recommendations to Senior Executive Group, Academic Board and Council.