An email just received from Bettina Arndt, published here with her permission:
I have put together a series of letters to Vice Chancellor Michael Spence asking firstly that he return the security fee to the students because the security guards were unable to control the unruly protesters.
But more importantly, I have asked that formal complaints be taken against key organisers of the protest. I have spelt out in detail the various codes of conduct and bullying/harassment policies breached by these organisers and provided abundant evidence, including video footage of these breaches. We have included witness statements from members of my audience who were bullied, abused and harassed by the protesters.
My new video (4:25) reveals who these key protesters are and gives a few glimpses of them in action.
Plus shows some of the relevant university regulations. This is designed just as a first stage. We are have plans to follow up, with legal action if necessary.
I also had a call from Dan Tehan, the new Federal Education Minister who is looking into what happened. Tehan is talking to Alan Jones about it here.
The Sydney Morning Herald has just reported on Tehan’s discussions with Vice Chancellors this week about it all. Tehan is now proposing a plan for protesters to have to pay for security rather than the people they are protesting against. He’s on ABC’s Insiders programme this morning here. See from 8.39 to the end.
I will be sending Tehan my letter to Spence which provides all the evidence about key protesters disrupting the Sydney talk – showing it is quite possible to identify people who gleefully take ownership of the protest. Perhaps he will use this as a test case.
Tehan has also been floating the idea that universities could bolster their commitments to academic freedom and freedom of speech through a charter modelled on the one adopted by the University of Chicago and other US colleges. Among other things, the charter declares: “Although faculty, students and staff are free to criticise, contest and condemn the views expressed on campus, they may not obstruct, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe.”
A Sydney Morning Herald piece is here.
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