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CLAIM ID

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Drew Pavlou, an Australian university student was suspended for speech involving China.

Initially, Pavlou was expelled for his anti-China campaign. After an investigation, he was charged with two misdemeanors, excluding his view on China.

In May 2020, Drew Pavlou, a 20-year-old philosophy student at the University of Queensland in Australia, in the initial judgment passed by the University, had been suspended for two years for his involvement in the organization of an on-campus 2019–20 Hong Kong protests and criticizing the Chinese government policies.

On June 2, Pavlou appealed against the decision, and the appeal was handed to Senate Disciplinary Appeals Committee (SDAC).

However, on July 13, 2020, the suspension period was reduced to one semester until December 2020 by SDAC with 25 hours of campus service. This decision was passed after the committee found that "neither of the two findings of serious misconduct against Mr Pavlou by the Senate Disciplinary Appeals Committee concerned Mr Pavlou's personal or political views about China or Hong Kong."

In April, the University had sent Pavlou a 186-page dossier detailing his accused 11 counts of misconduct found by the Disciplinary Board, reported the Washington Post. The allegations included that he failed to pay for a pen at the campus art shop and damaged the University's prestige in November by condemning police attacks on student demonstrators in Hong Kong.

On July 13, the board found that "in view of the level of public interest and Mr Pavlou's own public comments about the matter," Pavlou was guilty for only two allegations and not the others, considering the two serious misconducts; this did not include any allegations on anti-Chinese opinions.

SBS News reported the two allegations included a post by Pavlou on a Facebook page known as UQ Stalkerspace and the other related to a March 2020 incident. In which Pavlou "while wearing a hazmat suit, hung a sign outside the office of UQ Vice-Chancellor, Peter Hoj, that read: "COVID-19 Biohazard: Condemned". Pavlou on social media also described the disciplinary hearing as a "kangaroo court" and said UQ had "bowed to Chinese pressure."

However, on August 5, the University declared that "as a consequence of his suspension from the University for Semester 2, 2020, Mr Pavlou is no longer legally eligible to sit on the University Senate as an elected undergraduate student member."

The University clarified that Pavlou's suspension was based on two findings of serious misconduct and not on his personal or political beliefs about China or Hong Kong. They stated, "The University has consistently said that no student should be penalised for the lawful expression of personal views."

We consider the claim partly true because Pavlou's view of Chinese politics was initially condemned; however, later, the Disciplinary Council ruled out that to be a miscount.

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