UQ Student Drew Pavlou was warned Friday afternoon that various disparaging online statements regarding a member of the UQ Academic Board would be subject to disciplinary action if repeated.
The informal warning from the Academic Registrar Mark Erickson stated a student made a complaint against Mr Pavlou’s statements and referred him to the university’s student charter.
“The University cannot ignore behaviour which is discourteous and disrespectful of other members of the University community,” the email read.
The warning referred to statements made on Mr Pavlou’s Facebook page “Drew Pavlou, Undergraduate Representative for Academic Board”, which to date has 500 likes.
Mr Pavlou is running for Academic Board at the next elections and is not currently elected.
Posts on the page refer to the two Academic Board student representatives as “Crazy” Ian Trinh and “Loopy” Lachlan Hardie, and made jabs at UQ’s Vice Chancellor Peter Høj.
Mr Pavlou described his page as “sober, well-reasoned and respectful,” but the silly appellations are part of a character that emulates stereotypical political messaging, particularly the Twitter feed of US President Donald Trump.
In at least one post on the Facebook page, Mr Pavlou said that Mr Hardie “has no chin”.
He usually opens his campaign videos with the phrase “sup c**ts”.
The complainant said that the page undermines the serious work of the students elected on the Academic Board.
“I had the thought that it wasn’t really fair for someone to make fun of the work [those students] do,” the complainant said.
The complainant also said that they requested Mr Pavlou be warned, and that the university ask him to take down his Facebook page.
“If bullying occurs over social media, then the University should extend their rulings to social media,” the complainant said.
After receiving the warning, Mr Pavlou posted a screenshot of the email in a Political Discussion Facebook group which revealed the identity of the complainant, who wished to remain anonymous.
Later, he also posted his response to the Academic Registrar, in which he doubled down on his statements and called the situation a threat to free speech at UQ.
“While I would like to do my best to abide by the Student Charter, I would not want for there to be [a] chilling effect on student access to political discussion, or discussion of the most important governance structures in this public institution,” Mr Pavlou’s response read.
Mr Pavlou told GLASS Media that the tone of his Facebook page is in response to the “inherent absurdity of the whole charade”.
“I’m running against people for whom student politics is their life. They are extremely self-important and take themselves very seriously. For them, it’s a dress rehearsal for Canberra in twenty years,” Mr Pavlou said.
“They are both close to the university administration and useful stooges for Høj. Loopy Lachlan is perhaps the worst of the two – as a staffer to Peter Dutton, he is a payed up LNP party hack.”
UQ Academic Registrar Mark Erickson declined to comment.
The two emails are shown below with the complainant’s name redacted.