Media alert: ANU summit to explore issues of academic freedom and autonomy

The Australian National University (ANU) will host a summit on academic freedom and autonomy in the wake of continued debate in politics, the media and the university sector.

The summit will begin with a keynote address by ANU Distinguished Professor Glyn Davis AC on Tuesday 4 December. ANU Chancellor Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC and ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC will also give presentations on Wednesday 5 December.

The panel sessions on Wednesday 5 December will discuss the difference between academic freedom and academic autonomy; how universities should protect their academic autonomy and the threats to academic freedom.

Professor Schmidt said ANU is taking a leading role in guiding the debate around academic freedom, as the national university and a leading institution in the higher education sector.

“Freedom of speech and universities’ role in supporting and protecting that principle have been topics of significant debate this year, and ANU has been a focal point of some of these discussions,” Professor Schmidt said.

“But most of the debate has lacked nuance, and poorly treated the relationship between freedom of speech with issues of academic freedom, academic autonomy and academic integrity.

“The summit will take a deep dive into all these issues with a diverse set of participants from across several sectors,” Professor Schmidt said.

Panel participants include:

  • Mr Gary Humphries, Former ACT Senator and Chief Minister
  • Professor Carmen Lawrence, University of Western Australia
  • Ms Helen Trinca, Managing Editor, The Australian
  • Professor Jacqueline Lo, Chair of ANU Academic Board
  • Professor Keith Nugent, incoming ANU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation)
  • Professor John Fitzgerald, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Mr Matthew Lesh, Institute of Public Affairs

Media are welcome to attend the summit. The full program is available here.


What: ANU Summit on Academic Freedom and Academic Autonomy

When: Keynote address by Professor Glyn Davis from 5pm on Tuesday 4 December and full day summit on Wednesday 5 December 2018 from 8:30am.

Where: Keynote address in China in the World, Fellow Lane and summit in The Hall, University House

For media assistance, contact Jo Meehan +61 436 605 635 or the ANU Media Team on +61 2 6125 7979 or at <>.

About The Australian National University

ANU is a world-leading university in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Our location points to our unique history, ties to the Australian Government and special standing as a resource for the Australian people.

Our focus on research as an asset, and an approach to education, ensures our graduates are in demand the world-over for their abilities to understand, and apply vision and creativity to addressing complex contemporary challenges.

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