Justice for Murdoch University whistleblower Associate Professor Gerd Schroeder-Turk
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In an important legal precedent for whistleblower protections and academic freedom of speech, Murdoch University is seeking damages from an academic employee who, in the public interest, spoke up about issues at the university.
An investigation earlier this year by ABC’s Four Corners (Australia's leading investigative journalism program), found Murdoch University was one of a number of Australian universities lowering academic standards for lucrative international students.
An Associate Professor in Mathematics and Statistics, Gerd Schroeder-Turk, was one of three Murdoch University academics who spoke on Four Corners, having previously raised their concerns through internal channels. Murdoch University’s response was to deny the allegations.
It is now known that Murdoch University’s retaliation towards Associate Professor Schroeder-Turk has included:
- Attempting to remove him from the university Senate (the highest governing body), where he is the only elected representative of academic staff
- Issuing a counter-claim which seeks damages from him personally [ABC News], for losses in future international student fees (potentially running into millions of dollars). The university has also attempted to pressure him to reveal details of his contact with journalists [The Guardian].
This is despite:
- International condemnation of the university’s actions by the academic community [The Guardian]
- Public outcry from university students and alumni, the Australian union for higher education workers (NTEU) and the general public
- The university admitting that its Immigration Risk Rating has been increased to the highest level in its history (this rating is issued by the Department of Home Affairs, Australia’s border security agency)
- The revelation that the Australian higher education sector regulator (TEQSA) is actively considering information from the university regarding the allegations made [Campus Morning Mail].
Please sign this petition calling upon Murdoch University to drop the legal action against Professor Gerd Schroeder-Turk, and demand that a transparent inquiry be conducted in relation to the issues identified by the Four Corners program.
How you can help:
- Sign, share, and read the comments. For those who do not know Gerd, the comments provide a clear picture of the kind of person he is
- If you’re a member of the NTEU, head over to their campaign page for more ways you can help to support Gerd.
“At a time when the whole world knows the value of whistle-blowers, it is an outrage that a public university that is meant to be a bastion of free speech would seek to punish the elected voice of the academic staff” (NTEU WA Division Secretary Dr Jonathan Hallett).
“If an Australian university is breaching its duty of care to any students and if its admissions processes are suspect, they should be held accountable. There should be a public investigation, not the use of the courts to silence and intimidate those who have the courage to speak out” (NTEU WA Division Secretary Dr Jonathan Hallett).
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