Student reporting of foreign interference
Flinders University is committed to and supports the exercise of academic freedom and freedom of speech. We recognise that enquiry, discussion and sometimes even robust debate are important elements of the student experience. However, it is important that those activities should be undertaken in a respectful manner and at all times students’ safety and well-being is maintained.
Unfortunately, there are those who seek to stifle views which they disagree with. Sometimes those persons’ views and actions will be influenced or directed by foreign governments. Here are a couple of examples:
- A demonstration supporting a political cause is held at an Australian university. After the demonstration, media reports that a number of students who attended the demonstration have received online messages from fellow students calling them traitors and threatening to report them to a foreign country’s Consulate. Some of the students’ personal information is published online without their consent. Some of the affected students express fear of reprisals from a foreign government on their families overseas.
- An academic staff member has distributed a reading list to students which is comprised of articles expressing a range of positions on a topic with strong opposing views. Some of the students enrolled in the course complained to the academic that some of the articles were offensive to their national government and demanded that those articles be removed from the list.
The University and the Australian government take this issue seriously. If you become aware of or suspect interference in student matters or activities by persons directed or influenced by a foreign government, please report your concerns using the Formal complaints form. Your report will be referred by Student Policy and Integrity Services to the University’s General Counsel for investigation and may be shared for the purpose of that investigation but will otherwise be kept confidential.
For advice or support in relation to these matters please contact the Student Equal Opportunity Advisor through the Health, Counselling and Disability Services (phone: 08 8201 2118 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org).