Drew Pavlou
Drew Pavlou

Drew Pavlou suspension stands despite Chancellor’s concern

THE University of Queensland's Chancellor Peter Varghese and the Senate have not intervened in the suspension of student activist Drew Pavlou despite the Chancellor saying the severity of the suspension sentence of two years "concerned" him.

Student activist Drew Pavlou's appeals process would instead continue, with a hearing before the Senate Disciplinary Appeals Committee, a UQ statement revealed.

It came after an out-of-session Senate meeting called for by Mr Varghese to discuss Pavlou's suspension.

 

Drew Pavlou has been suspended from the University of Queensland for two years. Picture: John Gass
Drew Pavlou has been suspended from the University of Queensland for two years. Picture: John Gass

Mr Varghese called for the extraordinary meeting after the student was suspended by the university's disciplinary board on May 29 over 11 allegations of misconduct.

After Pavlou's suspension, Mr Varghese said there were aspects of the findings and the severity of the penalty which "personally concern" him.

Vice-Chancellor Peter Høj recused himself from the Senate meeting, and Mr Pavlou and members of the student disciplinary appeals committee could not attend because of conflict of interest.

"The appeal to the SDAC will be a new hearing. The committee has power to confirm, vary or set aside the decision of the disciplinary board," Mr Varghese said in a statement.

The statement said Mr Pavlou would be able to continue his studies until an outcome is decided at the hearing.

Mr Pavlou told The Courier-Mail the outcome was shocking given the Chancellor had publicly called-out the suspension.

"The Chancellor … said he would call a UQ senate meeting, basically implying he would deal with it tonight and then throughout the week there were revelations that multiple complaints were actually made up by the University and yet tonight they've elected to do nothing about it and continue the f**king bleeding," he said.

"I don't know why one of Australia's premier educational institutions is so seemingly intent on self-destruction on this issue, it's insane."

The disciplinary process has been ongoing since April 9 when the student was issued a 186 page dossier detailing allegations of misconduct, for which he could have faced expulsion.

University of Queensland student activist Drew Pavlou during a protest in support of Hong-Kong, outside the Chinese consulate in Brisbane. Picture: Dan Peled
University of Queensland student activist Drew Pavlou during a protest in support of Hong-Kong, outside the Chinese consulate in Brisbane. Picture: Dan Peled

Mr Vargese said that the Senate noted the Student Charter and misconduct policy.

"Senate noted that the issues of alleged misconduct and freedom of speech had been so commingled in the media coverage of the case that it made it difficult to untangle in public perceptions," Mr Varghese's statement said.

"Senate reaffirmed its view that no student should be penalised for the lawful expression of personal political views.

"Freedom of speech is a foundational value of the university as reflected in the Senate's adoption of the model code on freedom of speech drafted by the former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia."

It comes after Mr Pavlou, via his pro-bono barrister Tony Morris QC lodged an appeal with the University over his suspension until 2022 on May 29.

"The appeal will be heard and decided by the Senate Disciplinary Appeals Committee (SDAC) which comprises Senate members as well as staff and student representatives," Mr Varghese said.

"The committee has power to confirm, vary or set aside the decision of the disciplinary board."

Originally published as Drew Pavlou suspension stands despite Chancellor's concern


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