University Student Drew Pavlou Remains Enrolled Amid Appeal

A student activist who led protests against the Chinese Communist Party will remain enrolled in the University of Queensland as he challenges his two-year suspension amid claims of a “political vendetta” against him.

Drew Pavlou claims the university has levelled trumped-up misconduct allegations against him after he criticised the institution’s ties to Beijing.

The 21-year-old learned last week that he had been banned from studying at the university for two years.

Pavlou claims the university is trying to silence him, but the institution says the case has nothing to do with free speech issues.

UQ Chancellor Peter Varghese had expressed concern about aspects of the findings against Pavlou and the severity of his penalty.

An out-of-session meeting of UQ’s governing Senate was held to discuss the matter on June 5.

In a statement released hours later, Varghese said Pavlou had lodged an appeal on Tuesday against the disciplinary board’s decision.

The appeal will be heard by the disciplinary appeals committee made up of Senate members and staff and student representatives.

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

“Pavlou remains an enrolled student and no action will be taken on his suspension while the appeal is being heard,” Varghese said.

The Senate on Friday “reaffirmed its view that no student should be penalised for the lawful expression of personal political views”, he said.

“Freedom of speech is a foundational value of the university.”

Pavlou is a student-elected member of the Senate but if his suspension stands, his term will expire before he’s allowed to resume classes in two years’ time.

“After signalling they would back away from their political vendetta against me, UQ has once again capitulated to Beijing and kept my expulsion case alive,” Pavlou said in a statement posted to Twitter on Friday.

“UQ is seeking to bully me and harm my mental health by refusing to give me any clarity, constantly keeping me in limbo under immense stress.

“An attempt to make me suffer to show students this is what happens when you criticize the administration. Disgrace!”

He has also called on Varghese to “cut off” Vice-Chancellor Peter Hoj, who sits on the Senate but was not due to attend Friday’s meeting.

Tracey Ferrier, Heather McNab 

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Author: AAP

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