A story in The Age today reports on a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne opposing aspects of a proposed new workplace agreement. The Vice-Chancellor’s office has received no such letter directly.

The suggestion that the draft agreement removes academic freedom protections is simply not true. Academic freedom of expression is a core value of the University of Melbourne. All University scholars are free to engage in critical enquiry and public discourse under the binding University Council Academic Freedom of Expression Policy. There is no intent to change this policy nor to compromise the University’s unwavering commitment to its terms, and indeed this was reaffirmed by University Council as recently as March this year.

The claims reported in The Age are part of the National Tertiary Education Union’s (NTEU) enterprise bargaining strategy. The University firmly believes that academic freedom is too important to be governed through an industrial agreement.

Furthermore, contrary to the Union’s assertion, the University would not and could not lawfully dismiss academics on the basis of them making controversial public comments.