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Home  >  The social experiment  >  Something odd happened...

Something odd happened...

As has been reported in the Griffith News, starting with 2019 there is a new vice-chancellor at Griffith University: Professor Carolyn Evans.

Since over the years the previous vice-chancellor Ian O'Connor's influence within significant circles had become apparent, forming a pattern of reluctance to address the issues mentioned on these pages by so many entities state- and nationwide, an attempt was made to contact his replacement to see whether that attitude was still condoned. Especially with her legal background Professor Evans might have had to say something on that matter.

On 24 September 2018 I sent a letter to her, addressed to the University of Melbourne Law School. When after three weeks no response had been received, I sent another letter, this time registered person-to-person, to the same address (the official address given on the University's website).

By 22 November I had to collect that letter from the post office because it had been returned due to an "insufficient address". Consequently I posted a request to Professor Duncan Maskell, vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne, to forward the two letters previously sent to Professor Evans.

When by the 12 December no response had been forthcoming again, three staff members were emailed with the original correspondence to Professor Evans attached. They were the Department Support Officer, the Business Manager, Centre for Market Design (CMD), and the Manager, Communications & Engagement, CMD.

We are now within the second half of January 2019 and so far there is still silence.

Whatever one may say about my personal stake in all this (see the Brief for what the VC and certain other staff members got up to), when it comes to fraudulent behaviour an affair has reached a level which would warrant a certain degree of attention. Yet such is the barrier made use of due to the universities' autonomy that even at that scale measures can and are being taken to protect the organisation. Not to mention Ian O'Connor's sidling up to Saudi Arabia, a regime continually creating news for all the wrong reasons (perhaps in time to come such news will penetrate the barrier).

All this is reminiscent of my experience with the University of New South Wales.

Back in 1992 I tried to meet that university's then vice-chancellor, Professor John Niland, in relation to a conference regarding the Commission for the Future as well as a sudden and unannounced cancellation of my book Logic and Order in Society which had been on the required reading list for their political science course (written under my pen name Peter Wenger - see the Museum page). He consistently refused to see me, the case dragged on for months, until finally I was in his secretary's office and refused to leave until I had had the chance to see him. At one stage he - a vice-chancellor! - slipped in and out of his office through a side door rather than facing the prospect of exchanging a few words with me. A behaviour a child would engage in*). Eventually the matter ended up in court where the case against me was dismissed. The twists and turns by the all entities involved just to somehow get away from it all are a story in itself; a quite entertaining one for a comedy were it not so serious.

The sheer arrogance on display is quite ironic: on one hand they do whatever they like, but the moment someone shows resistance the law is brought in to deal with their own grievance.

Who knows, one day there could be a royal commission into the autonomy abuse by universities that investigates this and similar cases (they do exist). Royal commissions are the kind of action taken every now and then when citizens had been ill-treated over and over again by those who took advantage of their privileged position until finally the consensus is reached that something needs to be done after all.

In the meantime it is the responsibility of concerned citizens to call out such behaviour - and brutish and primitive behaviour in general - so it won't disappear into the past and become the new standard. Just as our current Prime Minister Scott Morrison praised the action of former PM John Howard when the latter responded to a violent incident between a couple he came across on his morning walk (reported in the Courier Mail on 14 January 2019, "Former PM wins praise for breaking up fracas").

*) I realise it could be hard to believe for anyone who hasn't had a similar experience. In all my encounters with demographics around the world I was very much able to engage people in conversations regardless of the context. One wonders about the milieu such individuals are coming from.

17 January 2019

© Martin Wurzinger - see Terms of Use