Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech Policy
Latest Amendment/Approval Date: October 2022
1.1.The purpose of this policy is to outline the College’s framework for ensuring the protection of academic freedom and freedom of speech.
2.1. Academic Freedom for the purposes of this policy and in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act 2003, comprises the following elements:
- the freedom of academic staff to teach, discuss, and research and to disseminate and publish the results of their research;
- the freedom of academic staff and students to engage in intellectual inquiry, to express their opinions and beliefs, and to contribute to public debate, in relation to their subjects of study and research;
- the freedom of academic staff and students to express their opinions in relation to the higher education provider in which they work or are enrolled;
- the freedom of academic staff to participate in professional or representative academic
- the freedom of students to participate in student societies and associations;
- the autonomy of the higher education provider in relation to the choice of academic courses and offerings, the ways in which they are taught and the choices of research activities and the ways in which they are conducted.
2.2. Freedom of speech for the purposes of this policy comprises the freedom of academic staff and students of the University and visitors to the University to engage in all forms of lawful expressive conduct including oral speech and written, artistic, musical and performing works and activity and communication using social media.
3.1. This policy applies to the freedom of speech in all College activities and to all staff and students.
4.1. Campion College is committed to standards promoting speech and expression that foster the responsible exchange of ideas and opinions which enables the pursuit of knowledge and truth.
4.2. These standards are embodied in the College’s commitment to the guiding principles in the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which promotes “free search for the whole truth about nature, man, and God”.
4.3. The right of free speech and expression does not include unlawful activity or activity that endangers or threatens the safety of any member of the College community or any of the College’s physical facilities.
5.1 Academic Freedom
5.1.1 Academic freedom is fundamental to the life of the College. This requires us to advance and transmit knowledge by undertaking research, education and public engagement of the highest quality.
5.1.2 The College affirms its right to academic autonomy and its responsibilities in relation to ensuring the rights of academic staff and students to exercise their academic freedom.
5.1.3 Every member of academic staff and every student enjoys academic freedom subject only to prohibitions, restrictions or conditions:
a. imposed by law;
b. imposed by the reasonable and proportionate regulation necessary to the discharge of the College’s teaching and research activities;
c. imposed by the reasonable and proportionate regulation necessary to discharge the College’s duty to foster the wellbeing of students and staff;
d. imposed by the reasonable and proportionate regulation necessary to enable the College to give effect to its legal duties;
e. imposed by the reasonable and proportionate means necessary to discharge the College’s commitment to the guiding principles of Ex Corde Ecclesiae.
5.1.4 The exercise by a member of the academic staff or a student of academic freedom, subject to the above limitations, shall not constitute misconduct nor attract any
penalty or other adverse action.
5.1.5 Academic staff are permitted to include content in their teaching that may offend or shock any student or class of students.
5.2. Freedom of Speech
5.2.1 Every member of the staff, every student, and every visitor at the College enjoys freedom of speech exercised on campus or in events and media connected with the
College, subject only to restraints or burdens imposed by:
b. the reasonable and proportionate regulation of conduct necessary to the discharge of the College’s teaching and research activities;
c. the right and freedom of others to express themselves and to hear and receive information and opinions;
d. the reasonable and proportionate regulation of conduct to enable the College to fulfil its duty to foster the wellbeing of staff and students;
e. the reasonable and proportionate regulation of conduct necessary to enable the College to give effect to its legal duties including its duties to visitors to the College.
5.2.2 Subject to reasonable and proportionate regulation of the kind referred to 5.1, a person’s lawful speech on the College’s campus or in events and media connected with the College shall not constitute misconduct nor attract any penalty or other adverse action by reference only to its content; nor shall the freedom of academic staff to make lawful public comment on any issue in their personal capacities be subject to constraint imposed by reason of their employment by the College.
5.2.3 When entering into affiliation, collaborative or contractual arrangements with third parties and in accepting donations from third parties subject to conditions, the College shall take all reasonable steps to minimise the restrictions or burdens imposed by such arrangements or conditions on the freedom of speech or academic freedom of any member of the academic staff or students carrying on research or study under such arrangements or subject to such conditions.
6. Roles and Responsibilities
6.1. Responsibility for ensuring compliance with this policy lies with the College President.
6.2. The Academic Board and Campion Institute Board jointly maintain responsibility for promoting an institutional environment in which academic freedom and freedom of speech is upheld and protected.
6.3. The Academic Board and Campion Institute Board jointly maintain responsibility for reviewing this policy and its implementation on a regular basis.
7.1. Apostolic Constitution of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 1990
7.2. Higher Education Support Act 2003
7.3. Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021
7.4. St. John’s University, Policy 1009 – Speech and Expression, 1993
7.5. Hon Robert French AC, Report of the Independent Review of Freedom of Speech in Australian Higher Education Providers, 2019
7.6. Monash University, Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech Policy, 2021
7.7. Australian National University, Policy: Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech, 2021