University Conduct Management and Response Taskforce Formed

Australian Higher Education Industrial Association

The peak industrial body for the higher education sector in Australia will lead a body aimed at tackling issues within university staff and student conduct.

The Australian Higher Education Industrial Association (AHEIA) said the formation of the University Conduct Management and Response Taskforce, aimed at addressing pressing challenges within Australia’s university sector. AHEIA’s General Counsel, Lachlan Carr, will Chair the Taskforce.

“This initiative will establish a collaborative platform to address issues related to staff and student conduct on university campuses,” Mr Carr said.

“The Taskforce will comprise people from various sectors. It’s objective is to identify and resolve matters concerning the management and response to conduct within university settings. The Taskforce will promote transparency, accountability, and effective responses to misconduct.

“There is a need for a central forum to address conduct-related matters within the university sector. Our mission is to facilitate open dialogue, exchange of ideas, and develop practical solutions to effect meaningful change.”

The initial phase, spanning from May 2024 to May 2025, will concentrate on the use of non-disclosure agreements in cases involving alleged sexual harassment, assault, and related misconduct. Key goals include:

· developing a comprehensive understanding of the use of non-disclosure agreements and their implications;

· sharing insights with university leadership to drive policy change;

· advocating for reforms in the use of non-disclosure agreements; and

· collaborating with stakeholders, such as the Can’t Buy My Silence campaign, to develop a pledge for Australian universities.

Taskforce membership, includes Vice-Chancellors, academic leaders, and representatives from key organisations such as the National Tertiary Education Union and Universities Australia. Subject matter experts also will be invited to contribute.

“We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment within the Taskforce,” the Executive Director of AHEIA, Craig Laughton, said.

“By bringing together a wide range of perspectives and expertise, we aim to develop holistic solutions that benefit the entire university community.”

/Public Release.