The University of Sydney has chosen not to endorse a position on the upcoming Voice to Parliament referendum in a Senate statement released today.
“As a University we have an underlying responsibility to support our democratic processes by promoting free speech and civic discourse,” the statement stated.
“Critical to this obligation is upholding the principles of freedom of speech and academic freedom.”
The University has launched a Voice to Parliament hub through their National Centre for Cultural Competence on their website, as well as student guides to the Voice, and offering Student Life Voice Grants which “welcomes individual students or a group of students to access up to $2000 of funding and development support for projects that support our students in exchanging ideas and information relating to The Voice Referendum.”
In a message on the University’s website, Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson and Vice-Chancellor Mark Scott shared personal statements of support for the Voice but stopped short of announcing an institutional position on the referendum, reaffirming that the University “cherishes debate, free speech and the testing of divergent views.”
“In our personal capacity, we are both supporting a Yes vote in the Voice referendum as a vital step in healing and reconciliation and ensuring Aboriginal voices are heard on critical matters (…) especially education, employment and health,” the two explained.
Within the prestigious Group of Eight universities, USyd is one of three institutions, alongside University of Adelaide and the University of Western Australia, to not directly support the Voice to Parliament, with the remaining five publicly backing it.
The University has never announced an institutional position on vital social issues of the past, including the marriage equality plebiscite and the 1967 referendum.