Last week, the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA) published their third annual Free Speech on Campus Audit. It found all but one Australian university (the University of New England) stifles diversity of ideas and academic freedom.
The problem isn’t just that the IPA’s analysis has been criticised for its substandard quality by many academics. Nor that it conflates academic freedom with freedom of expression, and neglects to mention academic autonomy – a fundamental university obligation.
The major problem is it polarises debate into clear factions. You’re either for universities or against them. This polarisation prevents us from discussing threats to academic freedom that really do exist, some of which universities perpetuate themselves.