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Academic Freedom policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 5 December 2017.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Policy outlines the University's commitment to the exercise of academic freedom.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies University-wide.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) The University recognises and values the right to academic freedom as central to its endeavours in scholarship, teaching and research and is committed to its promotion and protection within the University. It supports the right of its scholars to engage in critical inquiry and robust and unfettered critical debate. It recognises and promotes a diversity of opinion and the right to express that opinion freely.

(5) The University recognises that in the exercise of the right to academic freedom there is a duty and obligation on Academic staff to act responsibly and in good faith.

(6) Academic freedom includes the rights of all Academic staff, within their area of expertise, to:

  1. exercise the right of academic freedom without fear of harassment, bullying, intimidation or unfair treatment and/or
  2. speak, write and publish, or perform, create and exhibit, without being subject to University sanction, censorship or discipline.

(7) In addition, staff can make other comments provided they do so solely in their private capacity. A comment will not be in a private capacity if the person is identified as (or reasonably identifiable as) making the comment as a Deakin staff member or using Deakin technology and equipment.

(8) Clauses (6) and (7) include expression of unpopular or controversial views, but does not provide any right to harass, vilify, defame or intimidate other persons or to demean alternate points of view.

(9) By recognising, promoting and supporting the right to academic freedom the University does not imply endorsement of particular views expressed by Academic staff. The views expressed are the views of the Academic staff even though an affiliation with the University is indicated. Views on behalf of the University can only be expressed by officials and executives because of the position they hold or by other University staff if specifically authorised to do so.

(10) Academic freedom is not a defence for acting unlawfully or for poor behaviour or disrespectful treatment of others and in their exercise of academic freedom Academic staff will at all times also observe the University's Code of Conduct.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(11) There is no attendant procedure.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(12) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Officials and Executives: designated University spokespersons and members of the University Executive.