Investigation into potential breaches of University Codes of Conduct

15 April 2015

The University of Sydney today sent letters to thirteen people as a result of an investigation of various incidents which occurred during a public lecture by Dr Richard Kemp at the University on March 11, 2015.

Following the lecture the University received 34 complaints from people who were present (including some who attended to protest), and 352 complaints from other staff, students and members of the public.

There was significant disagreement amongst those present as to what had occurred. The University conducted an initial investigation to ascertain the facts and to identify whether any individuals may have a case to answer as to their behaviour and any potential breaches of University's Codes of Conduct.

The investigation looked at extensive video footage and photographs relating to the incident in the public domain and all material provided by complainants. Additionally, interviews were conducted with a large number of people present at the lecture.

The investigation was not concerned with the merits or otherwise of any views expressed or held by any person involved in those incidents.

The University's Codes of Conduct provide clear statements of its expectations concerning the behaviour of its staff, students and affiliates. Importantly, they require all staff, students and affiliates to be tolerant, honest, respectful and ethical at all times.

The investigation found that one staff member, five students and two affiliates (contractors engaged by the University) may have engaged in conduct that breached the University's Codes of Conduct.

The University regards these possible breaches as serious matters. Accordingly, allegations detailing those breaches will be put to the staff, students and affiliates concerned and they will be provided with an opportunity to respond. Appropriate courses of action will be determined after considering those responses. Any findings of misconduct may result in disciplinary action.

The conduct of five members of the public also fell short of the standards required by the University of visitors to its campuses. They will also be sent letters providing them with the opportunity to respond to the allegations against them. The University has the right to preclude individual members of the public from visiting its campuses.

The University will send correspondence to Dr Kemp and other initial complainants present at the lecture providing them with an update.

More information on the University's Codes of Conduct for staff, students and affiliates is available on the University's website.

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