We are really excited about our new video, featuring Senator Amanda Stoker in Senate Estimates last week, grilling the higher education people about freedom of speech and the Sydney University protest over my campus rape talk.
She was brilliant, carefully establishing who has the authority for monitoring that universities enforce their freedom of speech regulations. And then questioning the Chair of TEQSA, the Tertiary Education and Standards Agency, Prof Nicholas Saunders, about what happened at Sydney and whether this involved breaches of the University’s code of conduct. Saunders was actually very impressive, even mentioning the Chicago charter and being very firm about the fundamental nature of higher education institutions being about contesting ideas. It is so rare to hear a heavy-weight in the Higher Education system speaking out about these matters.
Senator James Paterson also managed to get Saunders to admit it is not appropriate to charge security fees.
Labor Senator Louise Pratt interrupted the proceedings with various comments and then, when she had the floor, slagged off at me, talking about people hiring rooms on campus to promote dubious theories – equating me to a tobacco company. She then launched into a long series of questions about why the universities aren’t doing more about the rape crisis. I was most amused to discover that she is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Universities and Equity!
Anyway, have a look at the wonderful performance by Senator Stoker and the encouraging response from Saunders who has taken questions on notice to investigate the action Sydney University is taking on these matters.
I hope you will help me circulate the video and like it. I think it is very important that the discussion about free speech on campuses is now involving members of parliament.
The other news is I’ve written an article for the online journal Quillette which has just been published about why I am running my campus tour and what’s behind the campus rape narrative. You might find this useful to explain to people who are questioning whether the campus rape fuss is a big deal.