Critical incident 22/09/21
Berwick campus is closed under current Victorian Government lockdown restrictions. Click here for more information.

Academic Freedom

Document Currently Under Review

Current Status: Under Review - With Editor 24 March 2021

Academic Freedom Procedure

Policy Code: LT2037


This procedure supports the Federation University Academic Freedom Policy. Federation University values academic freedom, which it considers a defining value pursuant to the objects of the Model Code for the Protection of Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom in Australian Higher Education Providers.

This procedure outlines the process for raising concerns related to academic freedom where staff or students may feel that Federation University is not being consistent with its statement relating to protecting academic freedom.


This procedure applies across the University, including:

  1. The University’s Council, officers, employees, students and other decision-making bodies, including those involved in academic governance
  2. Student representative bodies to the extent that they have policies and rules which are capable of being applied to restrict academic freedom
  3. External visiting speakers requesting Federation University resources.

Legislative Context


A complete list of definitions relevant to this procedure is contained within the Academic Freedom Policy.

A further list of definitions specifically relevant to this procedure is included below:

Academic Board The Academic Board is the principal academic body in the University.
External visiting speaker Any person who is not an invited visiting speaker and for whom permission is sought to speak on the University’s land or facilities.

Actions for Members of the University

A Checking the Academic Freedom Policy Person who wants to raise concerns relating to academic freedom
  1. Check the Academic Freedom Policy to determine whether the matter is considered to be inconsistent with the Policy
  2. Write to Chair of Academic Board at and outline key matters relating to concern with evidence attached. NOTE in the event of a conflict of interest with Chair of Academic Board, one of the Academic Board Deputy Chairs will be contacted via
B Investigate the complaint Chair, Academic Board or delegate
  1. Investigates the complaint. May draw on advice from key staff members as part of the investigation. NOTE: depending on the nature of the complaint, the matter may be referred to another department for consideration where authority may be aligned
C Respond to complainant Chair, Academic Board or delegate
  1. A written response is provided outlining the outcome of the investigation.

Actions for External Visiting Speakers

A Request use of University resource External visiting speaker Contact and submit request. Large-scale complex requests may require referral to the Vice Chancellor to request use of University resource outlining topic to be discussed, date, resource/s required, anticipated number of people. 
B Assess request Commercial Services/Vice-Chancellor or delegate Request from external visiting speaker is assessed.
C Respond to external visiting speaker Commercial Services/Vice-Chancellor or delegate Written response is provided to the external visiting speaker to outline the outcome of the request. NOTE: In the event the request is denied and the external visiting speaker would like to appeal the decision, the matter should be referred to the Victorian Ombudsman.

Records Management

Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
Complaint and response Academic Secretariat Chair, AB 7 years


Academic Board (as the Approval Authority) is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this procedure.

Chair, Academic Board (as the Policy Sponsor) is responsible for maintaining the content of this procedure as delegated by Academic Board.


This procedure will be communicated throughout the University via:

  1. A FedNews announcement and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the University’s Policy Central website.


This procedure will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. A FedNews announcement and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the University’s Policy Central website.