ANU Academic Freedom Survey

Participant Information Sheet


The ANU Academic Board is currently developing a statement to reaffirm the principles of academic freedom for the University. To assist in this process, we are asking the ANU community to complete a short survey on this topic.


In October 2017, Academic Board received a presentation from Professor John Fitzgerald, President of the Australian Academy of Humanities. Professor Fitzgerald spoke on academic freedom and its relevance to the contemporary university. Key topics discussed by the Board included:

  • What are the principle of Academic Freedom and why do they matter?
  • Who are the beneficiaries of Academic Freedom?
  • What campus activities should be protected by Academic Freedom?

The Board further noted that concerns around the protection of Academic Freedom often only arose once that freedom had come under threat.

It was agreed that the input of the wider academic community should be solicited for contributions to the development of a Statement of Academic Freedom. This process began with the establishment of an Academic Freedom Working Party. It is being continued via this survey, with the results informing a paper to be presented at Academic Board in March 2018.

Town Hall meeting

Subsequent to Professor Fitzgerald’s presentation to the Board, the working party invited him to deliver a public address to the University. This included an open forum discussion where members of the audience were invited to share their thoughts and opinions. A full audio recording of this oration is available at this link: Academic Freedom.

Benefits to participants

Participants in this project will have the opportunity to inform the Academic Board led reporting on Academic Freedom. This will ensure staff and students are represented in the development of the University’s positional statement on Academic Freedom.

Risks to participants

The survey uses non-invasive questions to ask participants about their views on the development of a statement of Academic Freedom. This risk to participants is assessed as very low.


This survey has been developed by Planning and Performance Measurement team, in consultation with Academic Board. This exercise is sponsored by Professor Jacqueline Lo, Chair Academic Board.
There are no agencies external to the ANU involved in the conduct of this project, and this activity does not form the basis of academic research.


For further information about this project, please contact:


Responses to this survey will remain confidential, so far as the law allows. Raw data will be stored securely and access will be restricted to the Planning and Performance Measurement team at ANU. Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that individual participants are not identified in any subsequent reporting (e.g. qualitative responses will be de-identified where necessary, quantitative reporting will be suppressed for subgroups with a sample of five people or less).

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