Allow free speech on campus, and overturn the decision to deregister the Socialist Alternative Club
This petition had 1,903 supporters
"University administrations should be very careful not to invoke freedom of speech." -Christopher Pyne, August 29, 2014
"Late yesterday, a meeting of the C&S Executive unanimously resolved to deregister the Monash University Socialist Alternative Club." -Ben Zocco, President, Monash University Clubs & Societies Executive Committee, September 3, 2014
On 14th August 2014, the Socialist Alternative Club at Monash University was informed that it was under investigation for misconduct by the Monash University Clubs & Societies Executive. The allegations against Socialist Alternative were made by MonJSS, a pro-Israeli political group. Despite their claims being disproven in the formal hearing, the Socialist Alternative club was found guilty of misconduct and deregistered as a club, meaning it can no longer hold political meetings or information stalls on the Monash University campus. The only reason given for deregistration was that allowing Socialist Alternative to continue to exist would be "prejudicial to the interests of Clubs & Societies".
The deregistration occurred only four days after the Liberal Party's Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, published an article in The Australian newspaper calling for university administrations to attack Socialist Alternative, and warning them not to "invoke free speech" to defend left-wing groups.
Deregistering a political club is a serious step that should only be considered in extreme circumstances. It effectively terminates the rights of the club's members to participate in the political life of the university campus. Given the Government's clear intent to intimidate and silence their critics, the Monash University student union has an obligation to stand up for the rights of students. Instead, they caved to the pressure and voted to silence a progressive voice.
University campuses should be havens of free thought. But they are under attack. Universities, and student organisations, must stand up to this intimidation, and make a commitment to defend freedom of speech and political expression on campus.
The Liberal Government cannot be allowed to silence and intimidate all its critics. If this decision is allowed to stand, it will send a clear message to students that if they express controversial opinions on campus, they will be targeted for victimisation.
We, the undersigned, call on the Monash University Clubs & Societies Executive to overturn their decision to deregister the Socialist Alternative club, to guarantee the continued rights of free speech on campus.
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