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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The truth at last, or at least some of it, about Peter Rathjen, the U of Adelaide, the U of Melbourne, the U of Tasmania, etc. [Updated Sept 3, 2020: University of Melbourne "leader" finally speaks]

Peter Rathjen, former VC and president, U Adelaide
It may take a long time for the mighty to fall, but more and more often these days, they eventually do.

Such is the fate of Australian scientist Peter Rathjen, immediate past Vice-Chancellor and president of the University of Adelaide. Today in Australia, Bruce Lander, an Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, released a statement about his investigation of Rathjen, who has a long history of sexual misconduct.

The statement, a brief summary of a much longer report that is being kept secret, outlines Rathjen's latest abuses, which included the sexual harassment (including unwanted sexual touching) of two women employed by the University of Adelaide. Lander found that their allegations of harassment (or perhaps more properly, assault) after a university function in April 2019 were true. Lander also found that Rathjen lied both to him and the university's Chancellor about a number of matters related to his past misconduct.

I was gratified to see (pp. 5-6 and 8 of Lander's statement) that the inquiry included questions about prior misconduct that I had previously published on this blog. My first mention of allegations against Rathjen were very brief, part of a much longer report in July 2019 on bullying and sexual harassment by the former director of the University of Adelaide's ancient DNA lab, Alan Cooper. More recently, I expanded on those allegations, in a blog post last May. When confronted with these allegations, Rathjen lied about them several times, as Lander reports.

The report also confirms one of the most serious allegations against Rathjen, that he sexually assaulted a student while science dean at the University of Melbourne. I had originally withheld the name of the university involved at the request of a colleague of the victim of that attack, but since it is now public--and widely reported in the Australian media--there is no longer any point in doing so. This also raises serious questions about whether multiple institutions in Australia "passed the harasser" despite their knowledge of Rathjen's misconduct, thus allowing him to undeservedly climb to the summits of academia.

Indeed, there are already signs of damage control across Australian universities. Here, for example, is a message sent by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania on the heels of the ICAC report. Note that  Vice-Chancellor Rufus Black states that an investigation at UTAS found no evidence that Rathjen had committed sexual harassment or sexual assault while there. He didn't need to, however. As I reported, while Vice-Chancellor at UTAS,  Rathjen protected a convicted pedophile from being kicked off campus even after he had re-offended, and despite a campaign led by #MeToo activist Nina Funnell and others to get the university to do the right thing.


From: Professor Rufus Black <listserv@UTAS.EDU.AU>
Subject: Peter Rathjen ICAC report released | We stand ready to support our community
Date: 26 August 2020 at 9:33:56 am GMT+2


Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your browser

VICE-CHANCELLOR

Professor Rufus Black

Dear Colleagues,
The South Australian Independent Commission Against Corruption has today released a statement regarding its investigation into the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of our University, Professor Peter Rathjen.

The statement upholds that Peter Rathjen engaged in conduct which was both unwanted and unwelcome with two women, and that he subsequently lied to try to protect his position.

We believe the accounts contained in the ICAC statement, including its information that there was a complaint regarding Peter Rathjen’s conduct during his time at the University of Melbourne prior to coming to our University.

When ICAC made public its investigation into Peter Rathjen’s behaviour, despite it not involving our University, we undertook our own investigation and to date have determined that there was no known evidence of sexual harassment or sexual assault involving Professor Peter Rathjen during his tenure at the University of Tasmania.

Today I want to assure you that there is no tolerance at our University for sexual harassment or sexual assault. If there are unreported, undetected issues in Tasmania, we are ready to support anyone with experiences they want to share, knowing how difficult it can be to come forward.

If staff or students want to share experiences related to Peter Rathjen’s time as Vice-Chancellor, we ask that they make contact with Chief People Officer Jill Bye at jill.bye@utas.edu.au.

While details of the ICAC report relate to things that happened elsewhere, for many, especially those who worked with Peter Rathjen, they may feel all too close to home.

If so, general support and counselling is available to University staff and students if they need support relating to news of the ICAC report. Staff should phone 1800 650 204 and students should phone 1800 817 675.

We are ready to support our community through an episode that will be challenging and confronting for many.

Not only have we no tolerance for sexual harassment or assault, as a community we look to a future where our culture is consistently inclusive, equitable and supported by the strength that diversity brings.

Yours,
Professor Rufus Black,
VICE-CHANCELLOR
Professor Rufus Black
Vice-Chancellor
Office of the Vice-Chancellor
University of Tasmania
Private Bag 51, Hobart, TAS, 7001
T: +61 3 6226 2003
vice.chancellor@utas.edu.au
CRICOS 00586B





Black's letter is typical, and will be typical going forward, of attempts by university administrators to jump clear of the Rathjen scandal and claim that they either did nor know or took action as soon as they did know. And they will point to the fact that Rathjen (and  thus perhaps his victims) finally got justice as proof that the system works. Actually, it does not work very often, as the failure of the University of Melbourne to alert the academic community about Rathjen's crimes indicates.

At the University of Adelaide, for example, officials continue to look the other way despite clear abuses in the School of Education and the dental school, situations on which I have also reported (see the long, long  list of  comments on this blog post for details about the dental school and allegations of bullying, mismanagement, and  abuse.)

I'd like to end on a personal note, one which I find amusing, as serious as it is. As readers of this blog know, I have been sued for defamation by University of California, Santa Barbara archaeologist Danielle Kurin, whose misconduct I have reported on extensively. As part of the "evidence" that I falsely accuse academics of being sexual predators and the like, Kurin includes a number of examples. One of them, mentioned in section 44 of her Amended Complaint, is none other than that of Peter Rathjen.


Update August 27:  Elise Worthington and  Conor Duffy of Australia's ABC have more today on the University of Melbourne investigation, which Rathjen lied about when asked, according to the ICAC statement. Serious sexual misconduct is a euphemism here for sexual assault.


Update August 28: Adelaide bully and enabler express their concerns about the ICAC report and Rathjen. 

As usually happens when an institution suddenly faces a public scandal, its leaders have issued statements to the rank and file expressing their concerns and assuring everyone that they are there to listen. The first of these comes from Faye McCallum, head of the School of Education, whose own history of bullying I reported on earlier; the second from Mike Brooks, who has been appointed interim Vice-Chancellor and President to replace Rathjen, and who earlier (as Deputy VC for Research) was a key enabler of Alan Cooper, ancient DNA director at Adelaide fired for bullying students and postdocs.

Note that McCallum says everything is going to calm down and advises staff not to talk to the media. Only when staff started talking to the media did anything start to change.











From: Vice Chancellor <vice-chancellor@adelaide.edu.au>
Sent:
Subject: [Alluniversity] ICAC Findings

Dear Colleagues

Earlier this week the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) issued a public statement and findings following his inquiry into allegations of improper conduct by the University’s former Vice-Chancellor, Peter Rathjen.  Professor Rathjen was found guilty of serious misconduct under the ICAC Act.

ICAC made no findings of maladministration or misconduct about any person other than the former Vice-Chancellor.

Findings about the former Vice-Chancellor are deeply shocking. I acknowledge the distress caused to the victims impacted by the behaviour of the former Vice-Chancellor.

This news will have been profoundly disturbing to staff and students as well as members of our wider community.

As our Chancellor, Ms Catherine Branson AC QC, has repeatedly stated, the former Vice-Chancellor’s conduct is unacceptable. It is grossly at odds with the values, conduct and behaviour expected of any staff member. The University is fortunate to have had the benefit of the Chancellor’s exemplary leadership over the period of the ICAC inquiry.

All of the recommendations made by ICAC to improve or clarify our policies and procedures have been accepted in full.

I strongly encourage any staff or students who have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment to come forward and report it tocomplaints@adelaide.edu.au.  You will have the University’s full support.

Along with the senior leadership, I am personally committed to fostering a culture and environment in which staff and students can thrive and feel safe, valued and welcome. All members of our community deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and collegiality.

Kind regards
Mike

Professor Mike Brooks FTSE FACS
Interim Vice-Chancellor and President
The University of Adelaide | Adelaide SA 5005




Update August 30: There has been a huge amount of media coverage in Australia about Rathjen's final downfall, which I have not been posting here because I assume that readers in Australia at least are seeing much of it (and a frustrating amount of it is behind firewalls, meaning I can't read a lot of it myself.) But I did want to link to this very good piece in The Guardian by Tory Shepherd. Tory was one of the first journalists to begin reporting on the rot inside the University of Adelaide (aside from me, of course) back when I was reporting on the many abuses of former ancient DNA director Alan Cooper. She also was very good about crediting the work of the reporter who broke the Cooper story, something that both Science and Nature refused to do in their own coverage of the firing of one of ancient DNA's leading pioneers. 

As I have said many times, the most important reason to credit the previous work of other journalists is not professional courtesy--although journalistic ethics actually requires it--but to put readers in the picture about how particular stories came about. In the Cooper case, for example, it was important for readers to know that former members of his lab had approached a reporter and told their stories, and that only then had the university begun its own investigation. By not mentioning this, Science, Nature, and any other publication that failed to cite the previous reporting gave readers the false impression that the University of Adelaide had simply begun the investigation because it was concerned about protecting its staff--rather than the truth, which is that Adelaide was concerned about protecting its reputation.

In the case of Peter Rathjen, fortunately, the  ICAC statement specifically referred to my previous reporting (pp. 5-6) and the role it played in the investigation, which makes it (more) difficult for media accounts to ignore it.

In Tory Shepherd's case, as I say above, she was always good about not only professional courtesy but also providing that essential context for readers. In her Guardian piece, Tory points out that Rathjen's reputation for sleaziness was long known:


"But to many in South Australia’s academic world, the finding was hardly surprising.
Rumours about Peter Rathjen’s conduct have been swirling for years. After his appointment in 2018, he became a well-known mover and shaker in Adelaide, a deal-maker. He was media savvy, often described as charming. In private, he was often described to Guardian Australia as sleazy."
and:
"The incident has prompted obvious disgust at Rathjen’s behaviour but also questions about the university’s handling of the complaints, about its culture and about its payout to Rathjen.
“The number of people expressing a total lack of surprise at this finding is absolutely damning,” prominent University of New South Wales academic Darren Saunders tweeted.
“The number of people in power who ignored the ‘rumours’, particularly those who were still in Adelaide when he returned … or those he knew in other places and didn’t say or do anything … if people who have the power and authority to make change don’t, who will?” former University of Adelaide postdoctoral fellow Hannah Brown replied."

The fall of Rathjen is a promising sign that a combination of action by fed up colleagues on the inside of the corrupt system, monitored and reported by journalists, can begin to lead to changes. There are a LOT of other well known sexual predators and bullies out there still, and I would to think that their days are numbered--along with those of the hierarchical, inhumane system that put them there and still allows them to thrive.


Update August 31, 2020: Protests at University of Adelaide.


From The Advertiser:



TERTIARY
Adelaide Uni students protest, demand review
into Peter Rathjen’s time at Adelaide Uni after
ICAC finding

Chris Russell, The Advertiser
August 31, 2020 5:10pm
Subscriber only


The culture at Adelaide University that allowed former vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen to run the institution – even while under investigation for misconduct – must change, student leaders said on Monday.

Calling for a review into Prof Rathjen’s tenure, about 100 students and staff attended a protest on the university campus on Monday.

“We need to make sure decisions have not been influenced by the vice-chancellor’s inability to understand sexual consent,” student union board member Arabella Wauchope said.

The protest was called following the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander finding Prof Rathjen committed “serious misconduct” by groping two women staff members during a work trip to Sydney in April 2019.

Prof Rathjen also lied about his behaviour.

Stella Salvemini, president of the Women’s Collective, which organised
the protest, said students were upset they were kept in the dark about the investigation for so long.

“We hope the new Chancellor, Catherine Branson, will involve student
representatives in what the university does going forward,” she said.

“We have faith in her because of her background as a former head of the Australian Human Rights Commission. “We expect her to do a good job in cleaning up the culture.”

SRC women’s officer Rebecca Etienne said students had been angry and distressed by the ICAC report.

Ms Branson has pledged to adopt all recommendations made by Mr Lander to improve governance and policies aimed at eliminating sexual harassment but has not demanded Prof Rathjen repay his settlement payout.

However, Sharna Bremner, from a group called End Rape On Campus, said the university had previously promised to follow a very similar set of recommendations made in 2017 by the Human Rights Commission.

The university had self-reported it met those earlier pledges.

The Women’s Collective will present a petition to the university administration.


Pictured (image not available): University of Adelaide Women's Collective
president Stella Salvemini with fellow student leaders
Rebecca Etienne and Arabella Wauchope.


And from the Adelaide Women's Collective (with apologies for the poor quality image:)





Update September 3, 2010: A letter from the University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor


It took some time, but the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, Duncan Maskell, finally got around to making a statement about the Peter Rathjen affair--although with extreme delicacy. Peter Rathjen is a "former senior leader from this University," and what was clearly referred to as serious sexual misconduct in the Lander statement is now "an incident that occurred." Here is the statement, comment afterwards:





A statement far more to the point was made earlier by the president of the University of Melbourne Student Union and others:


Statement on sexual harassment conducted by Professor Peter Rathjen — 28 August 2020

Hannah Buchan, UMSU President

Aria Sunga and Naomi Smith, Officer Bearers UMSU Women’s Department 

CW: Sexual Assault and Harassment

.

The UMSU Womenʻs Department is disgusted to hear of the sexual harassment committed by Peter Rathjen, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide. We condemn the University of Melbourne’s complicity in allowing a perpetrator of sexual harm to continue work in the University sector.

Yesterday, the South Australian Independent Commision Against Corruption (ICAC) announced that it found that Professor Peter Rathjen, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, had committed serious misconduct by sexually harassing two colleagues in 2019. An ABC investigation has found that a former employer of the Rahtjen, the University of Melbourne, was aware of previous cases where Rathjen had harassed people and yet they failed to inform the University of Adelaide.

Professor Rathjen was employed at the University of Melbourne from 2006 to 2011. And it was during this time that a former student alleged he committed serious sexual misconduct while he was the Dean of Science between 2006 to 2008.

The student reported this case to the University of Melbourne in May of 2018 and the University upheld the misconduct complaint. Despite upholding the misconduct complaint the University failed to refer the new findings to the University of Adelaide – where Professor Rathjen was Vice-Chancellor. Their failure to refer to these findings enabled Rathjen to continue to offend at another University campus.

This is not the first case that has been in the media this year where the University reveals its negligence and complicitness in its responses to cases of sexual assault and harassment. It is time the University or Melbourne owned up and took responsibility for sexual assault and a harassment that occurs within the University community. The University again is showing its true colours where it upholds perpetrators in power rather than survivors. We are deeply concerned with the clearly consistent amateur approach that the University takes with responding to sexual assault and harassment. The University must do better.

UMSU also unequivocally stands with survivors – we hear you, we believe you, and we support you.

We call on the University to:

  • To adequately respond to the allegations that they failed to inform the University of Adelaide of the misconduct findings against Rathjen.
  • To release appropriately anonymised data on the outcomes of their sexual harassment misconduct cases.
  • To appoint external investigators, with appropriate sexual assault and harassment sensitivity training, for all sexual assault and harassment misconduct cases.
  • To increase funding and resources to the Safer Community program and ensure all itʻs processes are independent from the University.

In the coming days we will be penning an open letter to the Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maksell, asking him to respond to our demands, and also creating a petition to collect student signatures in support of this letter. We will not rest until the University takes responsibility for their complicity and makes substantial institutional changes.

Find the ABC article here: https://amp.abc.net.au/article/12601766?__twitter_impression=true

If this has brought up any issues or concerns for you, we encourage you to contact the following services:

Centre Against Sexual Assault House http://www.casahouse.com.au/

Phone 24 Hour hotline:  03 9635 3610

1800 Respect:

https://www.1800respect.org.au/

Phone: 1800 737 732, Interpreter: 13 14 50

UMSU Sexual Harm and Response Coordinator; Dr. Patrick Tidmarsh: patrick.tidmarsh@union.unimelb.edu.au

Unimelb Safer Communities:  https://safercommunity.unimelb.edu.au/

Phone: 9035 8675



I will let a current professor from the University of Melbourne, who asked not to be identified, comment on the Maskell letter:


"These are fine sentiments. However, those who protected Rathjen in the interests of protecting their institutional reputations are now scrambling to dissociate themselves from him. You can read here that Duncan Maskell joined the university in January 2019. He quotes himself from that time, where he states that he has zero tolerance for sexual harassment. That was well before Rathjen was found 'guilty' of sexual assault. Despite Maskell’s strong words, no public announcement was made, and the universities of Adelaide and Tasmania were not informed. Maskell himself 'passed the harasser'. This on the pretext of protecting the victim. Of course, there was no necessity to name the victim or even the details of the sexual assault. Conveniently, this meant there were no consequences for Rathjen, as he was a former employee and not subject to sanction, and no reputational damage to the University of Melbourne from it becoming known that senior academics there sexually assault postgraduate students."

144 comments:

Anonymous said...

The ICAC commissioner has done a fantastic job
But the tv footage of the now chancellor hardly inspires confidence that anything will change
Plus will Rathjens fall allow the corruption and cronyism rampant in The School of Education and sanctioned by the Dean plus the toxic culture in Dentistry to remain and continue?

Anonymous said...

It's so frustrating to read about these white men who get everything handed to them despite their terrible behavior (or because of it). And then you have people who do everything right with regards to scholarship and just being good people, but getting picked on and blackballed from jobs because they are seen as competition (and no big names to protect them). Academia is promoting all the wrong character traits: self-aggrandisement, ego, self-promotion, going for trendy stuff, branding-focused, prestige-driven, having the "killer-instinct," etc etc. I fear that as the job market gets tighter, you have more of this kind of corruption in academia. I already see more closed searches or rigged searches, especially at "prestigious" institutions. I wish we could all be given the same benefit of the doubt as entitled white men like Rathjen. Why give him so many perks and jobs when you could hire 5 good people on the same salary? How about we stop paying top administrators in unis so much money? I fear it attracts the worst people.

Anonymous said...

With regard, to the last comment, aggression, bullying, and harrassment are hardly limited to white men in academia today. I have worked with many white women who behave just as badly in institutional settings especially in areas where they seem to predominate in museums to art history departments for example. They are all following the same play book as white men. Work place harassment is work place harassment whether sex is involved or not. Its a huge problem in this country.

Anonymous said...

Of course any group can have bullies, but white men are the most frequent because they are the majority of those in power.

Anonymous said...

Hardly is it confined to 'white' people. The shameless bullying that is allowed at the University of Melbourne by a highly prominent Aboriginal woman Professor is well known and condoned, countless careers ruined her toxic hate-filled rage.

Anonymous said...

More comments at:

http://michael-balter.blogspot.com/2020/05/peter-rathjen-serial-sexual-predator.html

Donate for Michael Balter's Go Fund Me: Freedom of the Press Defense Fund Kurin v. Balter

https://au.gofundme.com/f/freedom-of-the-press-defense-fund-kurin-v-balter

Michael has been sued for $10 million for reporting the truth against an UCSB academic's serious misconduct - retaliating against students who reported sexual assault from her husband.

So far, $8, 187 has been raised of $20,000 goal. Please support Michael and help to keep integrity in academia.

Anonymous said...

Nobody ever said it was confined to white people. They just tend to be the majority of abusers at elite institutions at a global level. Take a look at the roster of rogues on Balter’s blog. The pattern is undeniable. Even Castillo and Pinto are considered “white” in their own countries.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous, August 26, 2020 at 8:13 PM

White woman here.

I had a consensual relationship with a professor in my department when I was an undergraduate student. I met him at a departmental function. I was an older student, about 30. He was about 40. He wasn't teaching me any classes, and based on his area of specialization, wasn't going to. We genuinely liked each other and had a lot in common. He was black, from a West African country.

After a few months of dating (about two), he started to engage in physically abusive behavior that I wasn't comfortable with. I ended the relationship.

After that, he rallied other professors in the department against me. I was in my in my last year of an undergraduate degree, but the experience heavily influenced my decision to leave for a different university to do graduate studies. I still hear from people in that department who make uninvited offhanded remarks, as if I had engaged in the relationship to gain some academic advantage. I never talk about it, because I know people would never believe me, or would say that I had somehow invited the physical abuse.

David Drummond at Google had a pattern of sexually harassing women. There are actually many well known cases in Silicon Valley of non-white men harassing women, some of them white women.

Black men certainly do have less power than white men in my field, but that does not mean that there are no cases of harassment of women by black men.

In my experience, black men tend to be somewhat more perceptive and empathetic about harassment of women than white men, but not always.

This was a saddening discovery for me, and one that I do not mention here lightly. I'm going to the trouble to recount this because I think that we always need to be aware that institutional power can be abused by any person. I always check myself, and remind myself to be aware of the power I do have, and not misuse it.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous, "Hardly is it confined to 'white' people" Indeed. Someone very close to me was a victim of that prominent individual, whose behaviour breaks all codes of leadership and respect. Just avoid working with her.

Anonymous said...

Well Rathjen's gone and in the disgrace he deserves. Graduates want their degrees reissued sans his signature, and I'm sure they won't want Branson's either. Staff want his payout returned. Absolutely, but there's more to it. He was paid out 75% of 2 gears salary WHILE UNDER INVESTIGATION!! And with the knowledge, by then, that he was being investigated from his time at U Melb. All to get him out quietly. I guess that worked...not! Branson and council should be cleared out - including Brooks - and Scarce asked to return and oversee the rest of them axed.

Anonymous said...

From today's Campus Review

Former Adelaide uni VC engaged in ‘entirely inappropriate’ sexual conduct, lied to chancellor: ICAC
By: Dallas Bastian in News, Top Stories August 28, 2020 0

Former vice-chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen engaged in “entirely inappropriate” conduct at a work function and treated two women employed by the University of Adelaide with “egregious disrespect”, an investigation has found.

The former head of the university stepped down from his position in July, the day after first giving evidence to the South Australian Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC).

Delivering a statement rather than a report to avoid further harm to the two women involved, commissioner Bruce Lander said Rathjen kissed one of the women and repeatedly touched her bottom while they were at a hotel.

Rathjen also hugged a second woman while they were at the hotel “and in doing so deliberately placed both of his hands around her waist” and placed one hand on her waist at the top of her bottom.

All of the behaviour – which Lander described as sexual in nature and advertised by Rathjen to the women as sexual – was “unwanted and unwelcome”.

Lander said: “It was all the worse having regard to his position within the University and the two women’s relative positions in the University.”

Rathjen gave evidence contrary to the accounts of the women but Lander rejected his take on the encounters.

Chancellor Kevin Scarce – who resigned in April, one day after being told by the deputy chancellor that he would be stood down if he did not resign – met with Rathjen in May 2019 to put the allegations to him, which he did not deny.

Still, the commissioner found that Rathjen lied to Scarce on three occasions and lied to Lander himself during his investigation. “I have found that he has lied when it suited him to do so," the commissioner said.

One such lie was in response to an email from the chancellor in which he asked Rathjen for a response to claims made in a July 2019 blog by Michael Balter about previous sexual harassment on the part of the vice-chancellor “going back to his earlier days as a professor”. Rathjen told Scarce that there was nothing the Chancellor needed to know in relation to his past conduct.

Anonymous said...


part 2
Lander found that Rathjen’s actions put him in breach of his contract of employment. “In my opinion his conduct, having regard to the serious power imbalance between him and the victims, amounted to serious misconduct for the purposes of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 (ICAC Act).”

He added that apart from the vice-chancellor, none of the university’s public officers including the chancellor engaged in misconduct or maladministration.

Deputy chancellor Catherine Branson – who during the ICAC investigation attested to her own possible error of judgement surrounding conversations with Rathjen about her desire to become chancellor that were had at the same March meeting in which she discussed the first woman’s allegations – apologised for the former vice-chancellor's conduct on behalf of the university.

"The university is deeply sorry, as I am deeply sorry, that while employed at our university they were treated in a wholly inappropriate way by our former vice-chancellor," she said on Wednesday.

"The matter should have been handled differently.”

During the investigation, Branson said she was in some doubt about whether the university would be able in 2020 to dismiss Rathjen and "was conscious of the fact that the chancellor was committed to retaining the vice-chancellor to guide the University through COVID-19".

On Wednesday, Branson said any small pockets of inappropriate conduct "must be weeded out".

Professor Rufus Black, vice-chancellor of the University of Tasmania – for which Rathjen is the immediate past vice-chancellor – alerted staff of the ICAC findings.

Black said his university's own investigation into Rathjen’s behaviour to date has determined that there was no known evidence of sexual harassment or sexual assault during his tenure there but invited staff or students to share experiences related to Rathjen’s time as vice-chancellor.

“Today I want to assure you that there is no tolerance at our University for sexual harassment or sexual assault,” he said. “If there are unreported, undetected issues in Tasmania, we are ready to support anyone with experiences they want to share, knowing how difficult it can be to come forward.”

Another of Rathjen’s former employers, the University of Melbourne, found through an external review that he committed serious sexual misconduct in the mid-2000s, the ABC reported.

The university received a formal complaint from a former student in May alleging Rathjen had committed serious sexual misconduct against her while he was the dean of science between 2006 and 2008.

Universities Australia chair Professor Deborah Terry said she wanted to send a strong message to the sector, which was: “Sexual assault and sexual harassment are not acceptable. Not on our campuses, and not in Australian society.”

Terry added: “On behalf of our sector, I want to recognise the strength of the women involved and the trauma that they have experienced.

“To all victims and survivors I say this: we support you and believe you. Violence against women is never okay, and everyone has a right to be safe.”

Anonymous said...

It is unreasonable that Rathjen is paid to resign in disgrace for breaching University policy with his unacceptable behaviour. This is particularly important when staff are being asked to take a pay cut in light of University's financial trouble, and I don't think staff should support the cut if it helps funds his exit. I think the Fair Work Commission should investigate this when it assesses the modified Enterprise Agreement.

These events underscores that there is significant dissatisfaction with University staff over the toxicity and mismanagement of the workplace. The University leadership should fall on their swords rather than issuing "policy guidelines" which do nothing to protect the job security of the multitudes of staff that are on continual short-term contracts who are subject to the whims and toxicity of upper management. There are no unfair dismissal laws to protect them; there is nothing stopping the University from declining to renew their contracts if they raise concerns.

Anonymous said...

Aren't McCallum and Brooks lying? They have failed the institution for a long time. McCallum is hoping that "Balter's movement' will "quieten down soon" and she can get back to her form. Rathjen would have thought the same. Someone should use more of Balter's coverage and comments in his blog to investigate the wrongdoers in VC's circle, dentistry school and education school. Others should speak out.

Anonymous said...

I have a niggling worry about the next stages. While it's fantastic the Landers git out his statement this week, he is replaced with Ann Vanstone next week. Vanstone and Branson are both Adelaide law alumni and served at the same time within the SA legal system for many years up to very senior levels. They must know each other very well. How much impartiality can we expect over Branson's complicitness when the final report is released? The Integrity Survey?

Anonymous said...

Do not trust Mike Brooks about having full support for making complaints. The university has a long history of retaliating against students and staff who make complaints about bullying or sexual harassment. Look at the comments here. There are 215 as we speak!

https://michael-balter.blogspot.com/2020/05/peter-rathjen-serial-sexual-predator.html

What did the university do about Sam Gue's abuse for years in dentistry?? What did the current dean, Richard Logan, know for years (and left the students to fend for themselves against the abuser) and is now lying about it now? You cannot get away by lying and saying "I did not know". Someone should investigate him and bring the truth out. If someone like Lander investigates him, he will be caught out for lying. If university managers investigate him, he will be "protected". You know the system!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous from August 28, 2020 at 7:22 PM raises an important point. People have zero trust in the system. Mr Lander Mr Balter are our heroes. They have made a big difference to Adelaide university.

Anonymous said...

maybe we should consider striking in a bid to force change

Anonymous said...

The Adelaide Research and Innovation Trust has been largely wound up, but it retains more than a million shares in SNAP Network Surveillance Pty Ltd (ANC: 138 594 386; ABN: 68138594386). Most of these shares were allocated to the Trust based on the value of Intellectual Property rights it contributed.

The Trust's financial report from 2018 says that SNAP is an 'early stage' privately held technology venture (established 2009) to which it is difficult to ascribe an accurate value, and the value of ARI's investment in SNAP is therefore valued at $1.

SNAP uses CCTV monitoring software developed at the University of Adelaide's Centre for Visual Technologies (ACVT), where Mike Brooks was formerly Research Leader in Video Surveillance. Was he involved directly or indirectly in developing SNAP, and does that affect the Trust's decision to retain shares in this company while divesting its other intersts? "The Trust will retain this asset until such time as a trade sale occurs in relation to the entity or an offer is received from another shareholder."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"maybe we should consider striking in a bid to force change"

August 28, 2020 at 8:40 PM

An excellent idea. No staff should have to take a pay cut or loss of conditions, in these difficult times.
It's reasonable to agree to a pay freeze -- untill the economy recovers.

It would be helpful if people could, identify some areas where university funds could be redirected into supporting staff.

Recouping some of the income and payouts that went to bullies and enablers, is obvious. However, there maybe other projects or programs that could be cut.

We can demand:

No paycuts or loss of conditions for staff. We will accept a pay freeze.

An independent review of the University council's governance, leading up to and during Rathjen's term as VC, must be conducted

Individuals who had reasonable knowledge of Rathjen's behaviour must resign, or be fired.

Limited job losses may be necessary.

We could also have a peaceful sit-in, to help raise awareness.



Anonymous said...

Strike could be the way forward.

One of the areas is TV and radio advertisement. Wonder how much money they pay Channel 7 and other media.

How much do they waste on external consultants on futile exercises and ("multimillion dollar") makeover "tearing down historic fences, adding new gardens..." [Advertiser, Nov 10, 2019]?

Mike Brooks should be forced to get payment back from Rathjen. So much incompetence...

Brooks also mismanaged Cooper and ended up making a payout.

Cut back VC's salary.

Anonymous said...

Is the NTEU making any announcement about the saga? Can they lead the strike?

Someone should send these messages to NTEU National Office and South Australian Branch.

Anonymous said...

Progress is being made in removing abusers from positions of power and prestige. I noted just before I began this comment that Gary Urton has established a new Academia.edu page and his former, well-populated page has disappeared. As I write,he describes himself simply as an "Andean anthropological archaeologist" and has one follower and twelve views. I assume he had to remove his old page because our affiliations are embedded in our url's.

Anonymous said...

If she wasn't damned already by bullying complaints and the university's failure to act on them, McCallum's email shows her inability to learn from the situation. Hiding behind fake empathy for how the Rathjen thing is affecting staff (note she doesn't even mention his name or the topic/nature of thd media coverage). The old "Nothing to see here. It will all go away" approach. What planet do these psychopaths live on?

Anonymous said...

Adding to the Anonymous' comment from August 29, 2020 at 7:20 PM: Yes, they wish the problem will just go away. In the past, the uni used to sweep problems under the carpet and break down complainants, so, of course, the problems would go away. Some still have that mindset. Many other managers are hoping that Balter's coverage will quieten down and they can continue to wield like a dictator. Shows you the moral level of these people in power and no one in the authority is willing to do anything about it. They just cover each other up.

Anonymous said...

Yes the McCallum email shows no compassion for those that suffered because of Rathjen's behaviour. Did not even condemn it with at least a disingenuous "regrettable". Clearly a psychopath.

Anonymous said...



Mike Brooks wrote,"Along with the senior leadership, I am personally committed to fostering a culture and environment in which staff and students can thrive and feel safe, valued and welcome. All members of our community deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and collegiality."

Just give us some details about how the last 40 or so bullying complaints have been decided in favour of defendants like Cooper. Is this really treating people with respect and fairness?

Why did Brooks did nothing about Professor Grant Townsend's letter about the dire situation in the dental school? He told you the school was declining into mediocrity, and you let it go downhill. Working conditions are very bad there. The current dean has bullied many staff and grossly mismanaged the school. He did nothing about Sam Gue's abuse for years. THIS HAS ALL HAPPENED UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP AND YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING. The dean gets around by lying and pretends he does not know about anything. AND YOU ARE STILL LETTING THAT HAPPEN.

Stop preaching what you cannot practice.

Anonymous said...

Can I please encourage anyone who is based in Adelaide to attend the Protest on MOnday 31 August at 12 pm hosted by University of Adelaide Women's Collective and support our Uni Adelaide Students. It should be COVID-safe. Please see info below:

Bonython Hall
Public · Hosted by University of Adelaide Women's Collective
These are our demands:
- Commitment from the University to sit down with Student representatives to ensure the trauma caused by Rathjen, as subject of the recent ICAC investigation, is handled in a just and transparent manner.
- The Women’s Collective and Pro Choice Club to be affiliated to the AUU.
- A review determining whether the conduct of the former Vice-Chancellor affected his dealings with student representatives in a perverse or bias way, particularly in reference to tackling sexual assault and harassment.
- The option for graduates who feel uncomfortable with the former VC’s name on their degrees to receive a new one without it.
Important note: WoCo takes the health of everyone on campus very seriously. If you are attending the protest please maintain social distancing (1.5 metres) and if you are feeling ill please stay home.

Anonymous said...

The uni clearly has no idea how sick and smug its TV advertising campaign looks in the current climate. Talk about tone deaf. Rathjen has gone but the system and individuals that put him in place remain. Now is not the time for the uni to be talking up how fantastic it (thinks) it is. Pull the ads and show some humility within the community. Please.

Anonymous said...

Precisely. Even students are making fun of parchments. It is embarrassing to wear uni t-shirts in public.

Some comment posted by students and recent graduates on 'Overheard at the University of Adelaide' facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/107281302622867

"Anyone else stuck with the predator's name [Rathjen] on their cert? Would love if the uni provided something like this to fix it"

[On the image of their parchment, Rathjen's signature had been crossed out and replaced with "Someone who isn't a piece of garbage".]

There are many other comments saying how the students have found this sage "disgusting". Other comments are:

Pervy Pete

I wanna see when all his enablers in the university administrations also get ICACed, is that to much to ask?

Who enabled his appointment? It's disgusting. I remember reading about this last year- the information was publicly accessible- but people in power never believe survivors for their own selfish reasons.

[Answer to the above: "Chancellor and HR"]

"ffs... bloody Adelaide uni"

"This is shameful behaviour from UoA. Honestly what were they thinking?!"

"I'm so disappointed"

"Correct me if I’m wrong, but how is it fair that he receives a HUGE payout when he has acted in such a despicable manner?"

"disgusted"

"This is what happens when unis are treated like companies. Damn it Pervy Pete."

"Adelaide uni is the same as JB HiFi that makes perfect sense"


Arts faculty giving out participation awards "Certificate of Success" signed by Jenny Shaw for demonstrating "academic perseverance in light of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic" attracted these comments:

"Super proud to receive a certificate without a name nor student ID.... are you?"

"Put it on a placard", "Definitely going on the resume", and "That'll only demean the frame."

"Merge error" = we totally forgot to include your names until everyone mentioned it.
[The first lot of certificates emailed out did not have student names.]

"They can't even send a piece of paper without screwing it up"

Anonymous said...

It should not be allowed to "quieten down" until they're all gone. There should also be a petition and lobby to have Rathjen's AO stripped.

Anonymous said...

Definitely a strike should be considered by staff - the behaviour of all the senior team is disgusting and they should all be investigated - that is why they get paid the big bucks after all isn't it? They are supposed to know better - NOT!

Anonymous said...

Well done Michael. I see that your blog is now referenced on the Rathjen wikipedia page! Obviously regarded as a credible source if ICAC referred to it in their judgement.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous August 30, 2020 at 6:52 PM is spot on!! Pervy Pete awarded an AO less than three months after he sexually harassed two women, and now we find he's done worse at U of Melbourne. Even though AOs have long lost their lustre because every VC (and ex dept head or pollie) gets one automatically, for doing their high paid job - badly - it should be publicly revoked!! It's highly offensive to all the deserving holders of an Australian Honour.

Anonymous said...

"Pervy Pete Pathogen"

Anonymous said...

Yes, Rathjen's AO should be stripped.
Moreover Branson and her "Rump" need to be investigated and sacked. Timeline -
11th April 2019 Rathjen does his groping
April/May 2019 Ms A makes formal complaint. At this point UoA is deemed to be aware.
8th August Rathjen receives report on the investigation of him at Melb Uni
Late 2019 By this time Pervy Pete has lied three times to Chancellor Scarce - about rumours of previous behaviour, about Melb Uni and about a sexual relationship at Adelaide.
23rd March 2020 Adelaide University's Convenors' Committee (Branson's coup supporters) accepts Ms A's compensation claim.
6 April 2020 Nearly 12 months after Rathjen's "egregious behaviour", Council agrees to pay compensation.
AT THIS POINT NO ONE ON COUNCIL CAN DENY "OFFICIAL" KNOWLEDGE.
7th May 2020 ICAC Landers statement that investigation has commenced.
Nothing changed. Rathjen still on full pay, no disciplinary action. They must think when compensation is paid, it's over and jothing happened!!!!
This is Branson and the entire council PROTECTING SEXUAL PREDATORS AND HIDING IT FROM THE UNIVERSITY AND ICAC!!
20th July 2020 Rathjen resigns with his payout.
26th August 2020 ICAC Statement of investigation findings released. Branson says the payout "entirely appropriate"!!!!

Branson and entire council cannot be allowed to get away with this!!




Anonymous said...

Totally support Anonymous from August 31, 2020 at 11:48 PM. Rathjen payout is looking like the university's dirty laundry now. Incompetence at its worst.

Those in the authority are hoping that things will quieten down and be forgotten.

For too long university authorities have adopted totalitarian governance style and put staff in the dark. Too long they have fooled people and got away with it. This must change and change should start from the top.

Anonymous said...

The current Chancellor, should be presented with the same option that she gave to her predecessor. Resign for the good of the University or you will be removed.

Anonymous said...

Branson cannot claim any ignorance of any of Rathjen's behaviour at any time after May 2019 when Ms A lodged her formal complaint. A complaint of such a nature against a VC would have been immediately reported to Council. At that point all the rumours of his previous behaviour at Adelaide would have at least been mentioned. They subsequently allowed, and probably encouraged, bullying and victimisation of Ms A for many months hoping sge woukd leave - game over. Luckily Ms A, for whom I have great admiration, did not leave and pressed her claim for compensation. They'd seen how strong she'd been and were probably scared she'd go to the press so they finally agreed. No consequences for Rathjen, unless you couple of years free salary.

Anonymous said...

The University of Melbourne has prior form of sweeping sexual harassment cases under the carpet under the current HR leadership there. Do some research into a previous Chief Operating Officer in the Faculty of Medicine who was sacked for sexual harassment of post doc students at a Christmas party. Worst still, senior leaders at the University were made aware of Paul Cohen's behaviour long before the Christmas party incident and chose to do nothing about it!

Anonymous said...

These are very strong words from Hannah Buchan, UMSU President, University of Melbourne. Kudos to you!

"This is not the first case that has been in the media this year where the University reveals its negligence and complicitness in its responses to cases of sexual assault and harassment. It is time the University or Melbourne owned up and took responsibility for sexual assault and a harassment that occurs within the University community. The University again is showing its true colours where it upholds perpetrators in power rather than survivors. We are deeply concerned with the clearly consistent amateur approach that the University takes with responding to sexual assault and harassment. The University must do better."

Unfortunately, no one in Adelaide has had the guts to question the senior management in this way.

Anonymous said...

These anonymous comments from the earlier report on Rathjen and Adelaide University should be investigated. Will the current Chancellor do the right thing by investigating these problems just like her predecessor did?
http://michael-balter.blogspot.com/2020/05/peter-rathjen-serial-sexual-predator.html

Comment 1: As former DVC Research, and now acting VC, Mike Brooks has been overseer of the likes of Cooper, etc., and was worked closely with Rathjen. Cooper and others aside, what did/does he know about Rathjen? I'm sure a lot. If so, he is as culpable, during and after the fact for doing nothing.

Comment 2: Adelaide - what and when did Richard Logan and Cindy Molloy know about bullying and sexual harassment by Sam Gue? Deleted emails in university server will answer some pertinent questions. Logan is a Dental Board member (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) and AHPRA is investigation Gue? Logan and Gue co-supervised students and co-authored many papers. No.

https://twitter.com/mbalter/status/1265449719523938304

https://twitter.com/mbalter/status/1266120537518100481

https://twitter.com/mbalter/status/1277230431033794560

http://michael-balter.blogspot.com/2018/12/sexual-abusers-i-have-known.html


Comment 3: .. People who knew Sam Gue as a student are surprised that things did not end badly for him back in the mid-1980s. Since then, as he has moved into more senior positions, there have been lots of examples of female postgraduate students who have been treated very badly and withdrawn for the clinical training program that he has run. When others have offered to support them to pursue some sort of justice, they have insisted on the matter not being pursued out of fear for their reputations and careers. Added to this, the prevailing culture in clinical training programs has commonly been very inappropriate...

Comment 4: ...Nobody seems to know what happened to that complaint [in the dental school], but there is a story circulating that somebody did overhear a private discussion between university HR staff in which one person, referring to this case, seemed pleased with the fact that the University had recently successfully “defended” its 40th consecutive code of conduct complaint. That alone is evidence of the sort of culture that pervades the organisation.

Comment 5: The Uni settled with Alan Cooper a few weeks ago, prior to the hearing, I believe. [How much was paid because of Mike Brooks' failure to manage properly?]

Comment 6: The dentistry school is still riding on the world class status created by researchers like Mark Bartold and other prominent scientists who have now retired or left. There are very few in the dentistry school who can even do any research. Check in 5 years - the facade will have completely collapsed. Check if Richard Logan will go down in history as the school's worst ever dean protected by Ben Kile.

Comment 7: I have direct experience as a senior academic under Burt - he destroyed the culture of my School via the PSR and it will never recover. The Head of our school was powerless to withstand his bullying and predation. Good riddance. As to the current situation - we're doomed.

Comment 8: The majority of the dentistry staff share the sentiment of Anonymous from July 23, 2020 at 6.44 AM. Burt destroyed the dentistry school and other schools in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. He pushed aside internationally renown researcher Mark Bartold and Grant Townsend. He brought in an incompetent dean who has got rid of more capable academics. Look at the research leadership in the school now.

Comment 9: What? Branson on the panel and chair of audit, compliance and risk? Holy faeces, it will be business as usual!

Comment 10: So the new Chancellor was on the appointment panel, council member with responsibilities that include advising on risk. Seems to me they have no intention of cleaning up house but, instead, maintain secrecy and protect each other. What a farce.

Anonymous said...

Additional comments from the earlier report on Rathjen:

Comment 11: Richard Logan, the current Dentistry Dean, is affiliated with:
1. Systematic bullying of many many dentistry staff
2. Political coup of previous dean who tried to stand up for the school
3. Unsuccessful attempt to close down Bachelor of Oral Health program - did a lot of collateral damage to a whole lot of people & misled the whole school in doing this ("BOH staff were not qualified enough to teach in BDS (Dental Surgery) program" - just check other dental schools)
4. Failing to protect pediatric postgraduate students from bullying and harassment over years - What and when did he really know?? What are the lies and cover ups?

Abuses are still happening under Ben Kile's watch. Kile says Richard has his complete support. The sage continues.

Comment 12: The failed BOH review should be publicized. The reason (lack of workforce demand) to shut down the program was a sham; they just wanted more money. The school makes +++$$ from international dentistry students than BOH students. People have the right to know what shocking documents and dodgy data were used as evidence. Not to talk about serious conflict of interest - the dean should have known! The botched attempt destroyed some people's careers. Staff are still treated poorly. Yet, Ben Kile says the dean is doing a great job.

Comment 13: The private school influence running the University - look to Education.
Appointments from private schools. Bentley, ex Catholic Schools, a former colleague of the Head. A problematic time at Uni SA but appointed in place of the current position holder disliked by Head. White appointed level D direct from St Peters. Thrice denied appointment previously and denied salaried appointments to the University of Melbourne. Never held academic appointments, publications for the Research Excellence Submission 2 publications (less than demanded from others), unable to be on the higher degree supervision register as principal supervisor, no grants from the premier funding bodies. Appointment queried, reply White ‘showed promise’. Strange essential appointment criteria. More qualified not interviewed, denied promotion. White misleads as to his salary to increase the university one. White’s colleague, Barbieri, appointed without any advertisement.

Comment 14: The School Advisory Board is private school focused. One member the former Head of St Peters College and friend of White and Barbieri. The Dean of Arts child and the Faculty Manager’s go to St Peters College. The former Principal of St Peters College is close friends with the Head of the School. Highly opinionated, retired, operated in the most privileged and rarefied education circle.
The Arts Dean noted the university would not be responding to Balter’s Blog.

Comment 15: Now White to amass publications places his name on publications authored by higher degree students. Shaw, reappointed McCallum as Head and gave her sabbatical leave. This occurred after White and Bentley nominated McCallum for low status educational awards and Telstar Business Woman of the Year and lobbied for her. With respect to study leave other more deserving members of staff were denied this.


Comment 16: Government ministers lose their jobs when caught lying and misleading public but university senior managers get away with just about anything. Some people's careers have been built on web of lies and cover ups. And they continue to prosper and protect each other.

Anonymous said...

More comments:

Comment 17: Mention is made above to the mandating of Apple Ipads under Barbieri in the School of Education. What needs noting is that Barbieri’s St Peters College was once a pc computer school. Only Art and CAD led the push to Apple. The Head of IT left the school after being undermined. Is it the case that the then Headmaster (now on the Education School Board?) led the push for Apple and did/does his brother work for Apple or an Apple Supplier? And what is Barbieri’s relationship with Compnow. https://www.compnow.com.au/case_study/where-pedagogy-meets-technology-at-st-peters-college-adelaide/

Comment 18: Seems this sage advice has been forgotten as now in the School of Education, aided and abetted by the bullies in Learning Enhancement and Engagement, there is one way only. Ipads and the play way and certainly nothing as rigorous as examinations. The Dean of Arts having forbidden any exams in a recent Faculty Board Meeting. Let us hope medicine, dentistry and engineering still examine students or else we will all end up paying the price in pain, death and destruction.

Comment 19: One can only hope that endless budget squeeze, bullying and maladministration have not infiltrated into medicine, dentistry or engineering. Hope the administrators have not put the public at risk.

Comment 20: Peter Hoj is trying to come back through the revolving door? This is terrible news. Just look at 60 minutes about a week ago.
https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/07/60-minutes-destroys-uqs-reputation/


Comment 21: A lot of discussion pieces about Professor Alastair Burt here, particularly around the PSR. It's important to note the puppet strings that were pulled tightly by Natalia Hubzcenko and Alex Sabharwal during this time. The Faculty culture was crippled when they were employed. Middle Management bullies at their finest.

Comment 22: Many people brought by Burt are still in powerful positions in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. Just look at Richard Logan. Lesley Steel pulled strings on him and he followed her instructions blindly. His incompetence is also evident in his handling of Gue's abuse on postgraduate students. Did Logan know some dark secrets before 2019? What about 2018, 2017 or earlier?? The devil is in the detail - just track down emails in the university server. Time will tell what will happen with Logan and people who are protecting him. Well, Ben Kile fully supports Logan knowing that he could be covering up for those dark secrets.

Comment 23: Ben Kile, as the Executive Dean of Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, has continued to cut funding from the dental school prior to Covid-19. No reasons provided - just tell the school that your budget is lower than last year. He does not know, or bother to know about how dental teaching clinics should be run where students treat patients. He does not care about patient care or putting the public at risk. He fully support Richard Logan, the Dean and Head of School of Dentistry, who blindly follows the directions from his superiors so that he can keep this job. Everything comes down to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)! Now that Rathjen is gone, Mike Brooks has failed to act on all the wrongdoings. Well, he has been supporting Alan Cooper and many Executive Deans who were bullies so what can you expect from him? These will go down as DARK, SHOCKING moments in the history of the Adelaide Dentistry School.

Anonymous said...

More comments:

Comment 24: Many can still recall how the Faculty of Health Sciences misused about $10 million bequest funds in the medical school some years ago. This very serious matter was dealt in secrecy. The senior management forced the Executive Dean at the time to resign but they recovered the funds partly by cutting other school's budget. Dental school's budget was cut severely to make up for the medical school's stuff up. This all happened when Mike Brooks was Deputy Vice Chancellor & Vice President (Research). When government bodies make such mistakes, heads roll with ministers. At the university, Mike Brooks got promoted. The buck always stops with people below Mike Brooks.

Someone should open this investigation. The public deserves to know how the university mismanaged their bequest and what did they do to recover the funds.

Comment 25: Very much agree about the Alan Cooper payout. He got (how much?) and his victims didn't even receive an apology. Nobody has accepted responsibility for that entire situation.

Comment 26: @ At the Adelaide Dental School Staff Forum held on Tuesday 26th May, 2020 - a rare event - Benjamin Kile (Richard Logan's supervisor) said he fully supported Logan. Logan is invincible......

The Adelaide Dental School Staff Forum, was a rare chance for all members of staff to share their ideas and concerns with the senior staff and receive reassurance regarding the future of the dentistry school.

Instead, it turned into a support rally for Richard Logan, where Ben Kile had to chest-thump for him. Logan is not 'invincible', he is a weak leader, not only because he is a lapdog to the Executive Dean but because his incompetent decisions have degraded conditions, standards and the reputation of the Dental School.

Ben Kile will learn that no one is 'invincible', especially when he realises, he is himself, only a spear-carrier for Mike Brooks.

Comment 27: Rathjen's payout is rumoured to be ~2 years salary. That's close to $1.7M!! That payout plus the settlement over Cooper could have saved many jobs at UoA. The staff are taking pay cuts now and paying for this crap as well as the covid downturn. Surely Branson, Brooks and the rest of their cronies cannot last!! It's Putinesque!

Comment 28: Did Inga Davis get a payout too?

Comment 29: Probably. One by one, pay off the problems and, before you know it, nothing ever happened. Except many people losing jobs, being forced out because of the bullying and toxic culture, careers ruined and ongoing mental anguish. Psychopaths don't care or empathise. Monro was like that. Wonder what mess she left at uni of SA before going to defence?

Comment 30: Joy Rathjen's appointment as Science Directer at BHI, is very odd because she is far less experienced than the other directors and her academic background is in stem cell research and zoology.

The Basil Hetzel Institute has two Science Directors, Joy Rathjen and Mike Roberts and is headed by the Director of Research, Guy Maddern.

Comment 31: This Inga Davis. Was she appointed via an advertised position, shortlisting and interview process, or just appointed?

Anonymous said...

More comments:

Comment 32: Agree that the remaining people from the hiring committee should be fired. The committee members were:

Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd), Previous Chancellor
Professor Ian Young AO, ANU
Professor John Williams, Chair, Academic Board
The Hon Catherine Branson QC, Chair, Audit, Compliance and Risk Committee
Ms Christine Locher, Chair, People and Culture Committee
Mr David Hill, Member, University Council

The current chancellor, who was the Deputy Chancellor earlier in the year, did some not so nice things according to the ICAC report. She was also in the hiring committee as the Chair of the Audit, Compliance and Risk Committee. How did she become Deputy Chancellor from there? Definitely looks bad on the current chancellor - comes up as a power hungry person.

The ICAC report states:

In the meantime the Convenors’ Committee formed what Ms Branson (Deputy Chancellor) said was the Rump, which she chaired and consisted only of four members.

The Rump decided that the Chancellor should be advised there would be a risk that if he did not resign a motion would be put to Council for him to be stood down during the investigation.

The Deputy Chancellor requested that the Chancellor meet with her at her home on 26 April 2020.

At that meeting the Chancellor was advised that for the good of the University and for his own good he ought to consider resigning. Otherwise a recommendation would be made to the
Council that he be stood down.

The Deputy Chancellor also advised him that she wished to become Chancellor.

The Chancellor was given a fait accompli. If he did not resign he would be stood down. That
would have been extraordinarily embarrassing for him.

On 27 April 2020 the Chancellor resigned. On 30 April 2020 the Deputy Chancellor met with
the Vice-Chancellor and told him that I was investigating his conduct and that a resolution
would be taken to Council to stand him down. He took leave.

I do not think that the Chancellor should have been put in the position in which he was put.

I do not think my investigation could have embarrassed him or the University such that he
needed to resign. However, he elected to put the University’s interests above his own by
resigning.

On 4 May 2020, without further explanation it was announced that the Chancellor had
resigned and on 5 May 2020 it was announced that the Vice-Chancellor had taken an
indefinite period of leave.

Comment 33: Rathjen's problem is only the tip of the iceberg. With a pathological liar as VC, other senior managers have learnt to thrive by lying as well. They get by using their favorite quotes, "I did not know" and "I cannot remember". Culture will only improve when there is serious punishment for pathological liars (as stated in many many earlier comments) and HR staff (who fail to fulfil their duty of care).

Comment 34: Precisely. Had a contact yesterday from a colleague in tears. 3 years of bullying by an oafish and opinionated male. Nothing has happened- the union says keep a log and of course this absolves them from doing SFA. Shaw and MacCallum do nothing. Zilch, Nothing. Staff are all fearful and are terrified to do anything. Not only does this bully target female staff but now students especially overseas one. What does it take before the University actually does anything. Perhaps the university should read the recent judgement of J. Elkaim of August 7 and see what not doing anything cost one ANU affiliated institution. Then perhaps they may act. Should not be too hard given Shaw is a lawyer and other staff have legal family connections.

Anonymous said...

This comment should not be forgotten.

This blog deserves great credit for pursuing these issues. The ICAC announcement makes clear that Adelaide were willing to bury the sexual assault allegations. And now we get the smug "We did nothing wrong" from the new Chancellor. More shame heaped on inglory. The new Chancellor colludes with the sexual assaulter to stab the old Chancellor in the back to claim the post. The committee that appointed a lying sexual predator recieve promotions to higher positions as rewards for their cowardly silence. If they had any morality at all the entire senior management would apologise publicly for their role in this sordid affair, and stand aside to allow a fresh and unsullied leadership to emerge - if that is possible in such a tainted institution.

Anonymous said...

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/male-pale-stale-uni-governance-in-spotlight-again-after-adelaide-sex-scandal/

Anonymous said...

A comment on the Michael West article above rings so true.
"As many have demanded Rathjen SHOULD BE STRIPPED OF HIS ORDER OF AUSTRALIA!! So far he's received no punishment. He was not sacked in disgrace, he resigned and got a bonus!! He doesn't need the money but he does need his AO. It's a ticket to a number of opportunities for him."
If anyone from the UoA Student Union Womens' Collective is reading this blog, what a great campaign that would be, brings Canberra into the issue and put all those other VC's with AO's on notice!
Things certainly won't "quieten down" as McCallum suggests!

Anonymous said...

From the Rathjen saga, people have doubts about how the credibility of the Australia Day Honours. How can such a shady character with a long history of sexual harassment, sexual assault and bullying receive an AO? The real justice will start with STRIPPING OF HIS ORDER OF AUSTRALIA and RETURNING SOME >1 MILLION DOLLARS' PAYMENT AFTER BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE ICAC.

Who authorized Rathjen's payment? Mike Brooks would have had a major role in it. IT IS NOT MIKE BROOKS' MONEY, IT IS PUBLIC MONEY that was misused. For this reason, BROOKS SHOULD BE SACKED.

Branson was comfortable partnering with the sexual abuser to become Chancellor, according to the ICAC statement. For this, BRANSON SHOULD BE SACKED.

The entire council should be sacked.

Even after Rathjen is gone, the Adelaide university culture is still rotten to the core.

Once these top level positions are cleaned up of the rot, someone do something about the abuses in the Education School and Dental School.

The UoA Student Union Womens' Collective should show some leadership as their Melbourne counterparts have done. Trusting Branson reflects poorly on you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Colleagues,

I know you are upset and distressed about the conduct of the former Vice-Chancellor. I know that you seriously question the way in which the University handled the allegations against him and the processes that led to his appointment and the making of a payment to him on his resignation. I know that these things have raised important questions about our culture and our University.

Some of these matters have been investigated by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) and he has issued a statement. The Commissioner’s full report has not been provided to the University’s Council or to our senior managers. I hope that you will understand that for this reason there remain quite severe limits on what I can say about matters investigated by the ICAC. Nonetheless I would like to be able to speak with you about the things that trouble you to the extent I am permitted.

As I outlined in my email to you following the release of the statement made by the ICAC last week, the University accepts and will adopt all of the recommendations made by ICAC to improve our processes. We are already applying what we have learned to ensure that the University becomes a stronger, safer and more respectful place to work and study.

As you know, the University Council has resolved to commission an appropriately qualified and experienced person to conduct an independent review of our processes and our checks and balances in relation to the accountability of our most senior leadership. The process for appointing that person is underway. The review will be open and transparent. Council is committed to having staff and students contribute to the review and to the formulation of its recommendations.

The Council has also begun the process to appoint a new Vice-Chancellor and it is my intention to seek input from staff. I will be able to tell you more about this by Wednesday.

I will hold an online Staff Forum on Wednesday 9 September at 10.00-11.00am. This will provide an opportunity for me to speak to you and for you to ask questions of me and a small number of other Council members. You may submit questions to vcfeedback@adelaide.edu.au in the lead up to the forum, and I encourage you to register to attend.

Please register here: https://adelaide.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TlT9rsmgQfaXR8tQnYqY8Q

Kind regards,
Cathy.


Anonymous said...

If the UoA Student Union Womens' Collective started a petition to have Rathjen's AO stripped, they'd be amazed how many signatures they'd get. The rank and file (i.e. those that actually work) at all three SA unis for a start. Dovetail with Melbourne and UTas (wait for their investigation). The general public are incensed by this, and the massive salary and payout. While they're at it, srart another for the removal of Branson, Brooks, council and the rest. They think this will peter out before long. Don't let it!! The media should keep it up!

Anonymous said...

We do not trust the university process and we do not trust Branson's empty words. After all, the ICAC report said she was willing to work with Rathjen and get his support in leading a coup against Scarce. Are all federal judges like that? And they think people will still respect them when they behave like that.

Who will they appoint as an independent person? Will they really be independent or will they just serve the interest of Branson and her team? The university has lied so much in the past people just do not think they will change overnight. If they really want to bring some change, they should consult grassroot employees. They are not doing it, are they? And they will not do it. Do not expect much from those who have a had track record.

So the questions have to be emailed before the forum? This is how they have always operated. They simply do not cover questions that they do not like being asked.

If Branson and Brooks have any decency, they should resign for their roles in institutional failure and not pass the buck to someone else.

Seriously, emails from Branson and Brooks disgust many these days.

Anonymous said...

What are the 'conflicts of interest', referred to in the ICAC report pertaining to?
The report was redacted to protect the victims from further embarrassment but was that the only reason?

Anonymous said...

Yet to see evidence that ICAC is itself able to identify conflicts of interest.

Anonymous said...

When will the ICAC release integrity survey results? Why is the delay?

Anonymous said...

It is common knowledge in the dental school that the report of bullying on staff reached the Australian Dental Council earlier this year (pre-Covid). The council then put 'conditions' on all clinical programs. The university lied to the council and external bodies that there was no bullying problem. The university got away with this and also advertised 4 new positions to satisfy the council. What they have done is add one external staff and claimed there were no suitable candidates. Will the Chancellor investigate who told the lies - was it just Rathjen or others in his circle? The Executive Dean and the Dean??

Anonymous said...

This forum is a ploy. Register your questions? If the questions do not cone from a UoA email address tgey will be ignored. If they do you will be on a list for when the jobs start going. At the end they will say they've consulted staff. Job ddone.in any event they will ignore the important questions.

Anonymous said...

Branson is trying to self-regulate the system that failed because of it. The council is proposing to bring "an appropriately qualified and experienced person to conduct an independent review of our processes and our checks and balance". Through this forum she will say everyone was consulted and appoint someone who will look after their own interests. Everyone can see what the "appropriately qualified" firm did with Rathjen's appointment. People can see how "appropriately qualified" people appointed through "transparent process" have bullied staff in Education and Dentistry. AND THEY ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT APPOINTING SOMEONE TO EVALUATE THEMSELVES. This is how HR works. Senior managers appoint HR to look after their own interests. HR reports to these managers, so why will not behave like lapdogs?

Unless she brings external, independent watchdog that has the power to investigate senior managers, it ain't gonna get better. AND SHE WILL NOT DO THAT.

Surely, Branson would have read Balter's reports and comments in the blog. If she had integrity, she will investigate these claims. WILL SHE? REALLY??

Anonymous said...

Exactly. It is very easy to sack many employees at University because many of us are on short term contracts. While there are procedures and unfair dismissal laws for tenured staff, University can elect to not renew contracts with impunity. Inviting questions by email is an obvious ploy to identify dissenters and quell troublesome questions. I, too, wonder where the integrity survey results are. I hope the outcome prompts questioning the rapid and unmerited promotion of some staff who enjoyed the support of his previous supervisor who is now in a senior leadership role at University.

Anonymous said...

Rather than blaming Rathjen for what he did, has anyone thought is it the rotten university culture that promoted people like him and others (described in this blog)? The decline started a long time ago and these people were just allowed to thrive in that environment. If this is true, who is responsible for this? Are these people still working in senior leadership positions?

The university's name is mud in other Australian states and internationally. Jobseekers are no longer keen to come to Adelaide unless they are desperate. Adelaide staff and students deserve better.

Anonymous said...

Sure other people elevated Rathjen to high positions, and should be accountable for their own actions if they overlooked or covered up his misdemeanors. Even so, the primary responsibility for individual cases of sexual harassment and assault still belongs to Rathjen. Most people in universities manage not to assault people no matter how high they rise and no matter what the local culture lets slide.

The larger cultural problem remains though, and it's down to the whole university community to change than from within, as well as the SA government to legislate a university governance structure that doesn't invite autocratic managers.
We don't need an ICAC survey to know where the problems lie.

You can evaluate the university's current priorities for yourself. Follow the link below, and go and read the University Statutes. See how much space is dedicated in statutes to managing staff misconduct as opposed to student misconduct. Read the University's bylaws and see how much the university management cares about protecting people versus protecting the University's lawns, trees and shrubs.

https://www.adelaide.edu.au/governance/legislation/

If staff and students find that these documents do not reflect the values of the university community, organise! Collaborate to draft up documents that you think better reflect how you would like to see the university being run. Don't wait to be asked or invited because you won't be. Those in secure jobs need to lead from the front and provide cover for casual/contract staff and students. Maybe someone experienced and close to retirement would like to volunteer their leadership skills.

Anonymous said...

It is worth taking up the point on "The values of the university community". It is the ultimate irony that Rathjen introduced a code of conduct for professorial staff and began a process in which senior leaders gather at the Wine Centre to discuss University values. 3 (or maybe 4) days have been wasted by senior staff discussing honesty! integrity! respect! All led by a man who practised none of them. The meetings have continued since he stepped down, confirming again that the replacement leaders still do not understand the degree of contempt felt by the staff and the emptiness of their words.

Anonymous said...

Questions need to be put to Branson via the forum. The trick is in how you do it.
One way is to ask someone trustworthy and not so vulnerable as contract staff to collate and submit questions. They submit them and, also email them directly to the "Rathjen Rewarder", cc'd to the entire department/school. That email begins with
"I've been asked by a large number of staff, to send a collection of questions to be answered at the online staff forum. These questions have come through me as all staff have lost all trust and confidence in the University's senior management, and feel vulnerable in this present situation of frozen contracts, pay reduction and imminent job losses, and wish to remain anonymous, etc."
Every staff member will see that the questions have been asked and the Rathjen Rewarder cannot deny having received them. Save the questions and send to Balter's Blog, The Australian, The Advertiser, and any other news outley or blog you can think of ahead of the forum.
I hope your questions include When are you resigning and getting a payout?

Anonymous said...

Re the post above on the Wine Center Integrity Fora for Professors it is good to hear that our Professorial leaders have to suffer such nonsense. For the lesser ranks of worker bees the punishment is the Carpe - Seize the Day- Seminars where the worker bees are harangued and bullied by the Leavites in the form of so called Ed Specialists and Learner Engagers and Enhancers. In what could have come direct from Inquisition Spain lecturers are put on the academic rack by a range of people who have avoided any real teaching and forced to recant any educational theory which involves proper academic integrity and sign up the the current faddish mantra of no exams, an ipad in every pocket and every other degradation of the academic dogma from the academic grab bag of what passes for the academic enterprise. The current sexual harrassment scandal which Adelaide currently finds itself is just the most awful manifestation of things gone wrong in academe. But it is not the only one. What has happened to true academic endeavour under so called education specialists and offices of engagement and enhancement will in the long term be seen in the same light as neo liberal economic forays are now seen. But many will have suffered before this happens.

Anonymous said...

So, one question no one seems to ask is why an academic with a PhD in say biochemistry or computer vision (random examples) is qualified to lead and manage an institution with 3500 staff and 30000 students and a budget of close to a billion - how does this happen? What relevance does their academic qualification have to the role they are filling. FFS, I can barely manage my household budget and I refused the role of HoS in my School because why - why would you do it? Some people are just corrupt and greedy bullies - I have seen it and they are despicable. Once again, I say the University of Adelaide is doomed - nothing will save it ...

Anonymous said...

Adelaide uni is doomed if nobody rescues it. Never forget that running the place into the ground and so forcing a merger could actually be somebody's KPI imposed from above... Big cash injection promised to UniSA when a certain business asset sells?

Anonymous said...

Many of us know the dire problems created by incompetent administrators who have survived on workplace gaslighting. If ICAC integrity survey confirms it, the uni cannot ignore it anymore.

Some Deans are very good - kudos to them - but there are many incompetent ones. There have been many cases where good deans have been removed and lapdogs have been kept to show loyalty to people higher up. The incompetent ones get around by bullying subordinates with the power and protection given to them by their superiors. Look at other comments for examples.

Thanks to the aristocratic and authoritarian system set up by past senior leaders, who have in reality failed the institution. Some of them are still in high places.

Anonymous said...

The University culture is indeed toxic; it serves to promote psychopaths who manipulate the system and others with aggressive, unmerited, self-promotion. Rathjen is one example; Anon @ 6/9/20, 5:14AM has identified another. At least one of these people actively gaslights and maliciously gossips about employees while pretending they are excellent managers. In reality, they know little more than the buzz words from abstracts of trendy papers: instead, their "success" is based on exploiting students and research staff to solve the problems and do the actual work. It isn't just me who recognises this: visiting scholars have quietly expressed their surprise at how little the director supervises and mentors PhD students, for example.

aesthetic pleasure said...

Please also forward any questions you would like to ask to ABC investigations reporter Elise Worthington eliseworthington@protonmail.com who has been working on this story.


https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-27/sexual-complaint-against-professor-investigated-by-university/12601766

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Questions need to be put to Branson via the forum. The trick is in how you do it.
One way is to ask someone trustworthy and not so vulnerable as contract staff to collate and submit questions. They submit them and, also email them directly to the "Rathjen Rewarder", cc'd to the entire department/school. That email begins with
"I've been asked by a large number of staff, to send a collection of questions to be answered at the online staff forum. These questions have come through me as all staff have lost all trust and confidence in the University's senior management, and feel vulnerable in this present situation of frozen contracts, pay reduction and imminent job losses, and wish to remain anonymous, etc."
Every staff member will see that the questions have been asked and the Rathjen Rewarder cannot deny having received them. Save the questions and send to Balter's Blog, The Australian, The Advertiser, and any other news outley or blog you can think of ahead of the forum.
I hope your questions include When are you resigning and getting a payout?

September 5, 2020 at 11:29 PM

Anonymous said...

please also forward any questions to Elise Worthington from ABC who has been working on this story

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-27/sexual-complaint-against-professor-investigated-by-university/12601766

her email in the article is eliseworthington@protonmail.com

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Elise Worthington is reading this blog. Michael Balter's credibility was already high before Landers mention of his investigative work.
Anyway, here's some questions for Branson, and generally.

Why has Rathjen not been disciplined by UoA?
Why was he rewarded for resigning?
On what grounds was there a payout at all, as he resigned/terminated his contract?
Why have they not made efforts to get back the offensive payout?
Why was he not sacked for both behaviour and bringing the university into disrepute?
Why has UoA not asked Canberra to have Rathjen's AO revoked?
Will they not endorse a call for for his AO to be revoked?
Why, in all the emails to staff are senior managers avoiding saying or implying that Rathjen did something wrong?
Why are they avoiding honestly bringing in an external person and panel for a review?
Why are university finances decision prodesses secret?
Why are there no (other than elected) people with tertiary education experience on council?
Why are HR processes opaque, full of conflict of interest and inconsistent?
When will you and council resign?

Anonymous said...

The questions posed by Anonymous, September 6, 2020 at 11:23 PM
are each important and need to be addressed if we are to rebuild even a faint whiff of the once prized and now decimated ‘reputation’ of UoA.
I’d like to pose some questions to the forum re the outstanding disregard for quality of student education too. Students (and their hopes and dreams) are essentially fodder for the corporate greed on full display here. They are herded through in great number with neglectful carelessness.
Standards are down in student work, and because we’re forced to treat students as customers who are always right, standards are down. Class sizes are so obscenely huge it is impossible to give students any personalised attention or guidance.
If the essential function of a university is to provide a quality education, UoA is a disgrace. If, on the other hand, the primary function of the university is to support a corporate structure which rewards the psychopathic (and frankly often obtuse, always tone deaf) ‘executive’, and bullies and overworks academics to breaking point, UoA is a disgrace.
We know they’re lying but we’re scared to speak out.. and now that I think about how they float about on their entitled airs of superiority, North Korea isn’t that far off!

Anonymous said...

This email was sent to all staff by the Council today.

[Alluniversity] Update: Response by Council to ICAC report and reminder about the Staff Forum

Dear colleagues

The University of Adelaide is an iconic asset for our state and has played a critical role for South Australia for nearly 150 years. The University community and indeed all South Australians are entitled to know how the University is responding to the events that led to the recent Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation and the departure of the former Vice-Chancellor.

As you know, the University fully cooperated with all aspects of the ICAC inquiry, which began when the former Chancellor, Rear Admiral the Hon. Kevin Scarce AC CSC, reported the matter directly to the Commissioner, after the matter was brought to the attention of a committee of Council in 2020.

The improper conduct by the former Vice-Chancellor occurred in April 2019, as the ICAC’s statement has outlined. The University’s Council and its own internal lawyers were not aware of the allegations against the former Vice-Chancellor until almost a year after the incident had occurred.

It is regrettable that the Report was not able to be released in full but had the ICAC done so, the identity of the victims would have been inevitably disclosed because of the level of detail provided in the Report. The University sought amendments and redactions to the Report, if it were to be published in full, solely to protect the innocent parties’ identities.

Payment to the former Vice-Chancellor
There has been commentary about the payment made to the former Vice-Chancellor upon his resignation. On 2 July 2020 the former Vice-Chancellor resigned under the terms of his employment contract on grounds of ill-health. In accordance with his contact, he was paid $238,600 in lieu of a reduced notice period, and $87,800 in statutory leave entitlements.

At the time of the former Vice-Chancellor’s resignation, he was on paid leave, pending the outcome of the ICAC investigation, which was being conducted in private and was ongoing. The course and outcome of the investigation was not then known to the University.

In deciding to make this payment, the Council had regard to a number of factors. One was that the former Vice-Chancellor’s lawyers provided the University with a substantial specialist medical report that supported the claim of ill-health.

Another factor was the way in which the allegations against the former Vice-Chancellor had been handled by the former Chancellor more than a year before. The former Chancellor, acting on legal advice, told him that his conduct as outlined in those allegations did not warrant dismissal. The former Vice-Chancellor had denied any further misconduct. The secrecy provisions surrounding the ICAC inquiry meant that the University was unaware that evidence of additional misconduct by the former Vice-Chancellor had in fact been found.

Kind regards,
Chancellor and the University Council

Anonymous said...

The last part of the email from the Chancellor and the Council:

Staff Forum
Working in an environment when your workplace is under scrutiny and subject to criticism is never easy. We know that our staff care deeply about our University and its reputation. This week’s Staff Forum will provide you with the opportunity to hear from the Chancellor and other members of Council in regard to this matter and to ask us your questions. If you haven’t already done so you can register here: https://adelaide.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TlT9rsmgQfaXR8tQnYqY8Q.

Kind regards,
Chancellor and the University Council

Anonymous said...

Share bullying stories here. State which school, which senior staff and what HR did.

I heard Adelaide Uni advertisement multiple times on radio (FM 102.3) this morning. I felt very uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

More questions for Branson.

The ICAC statement on Rathjen makes it clear that senior managers confronted him after reading the allegations of misconduct against him on Balter's Blog. As managers clearly view the blog as a credible source, did they also confront Alan Cooper with allegations of grant fraud as published on Balter's Blog?

If so, what was the outcome and why is it not public? If not, why didn't managers consider the fraud allegations worthy of investigation?

Does the Chancellor accept that, just like with bullying and sexual harassment, the university has a conflict of interest when investigating its own staff for research misconduct? Would she welcome an external review of the fraud allegations, and if independently substantiated, would she promise to repay the grant money, plus compensation to whoever missed out in the relevant grant round?

Anonymous said...

Look carefully at the email from the Chancellor regarding the payout. It states the amounts for notice and leave. What it does not say is that these were the only payments made. The wording could be carefully crafted to accommodate any number of other payments. Have no trust that this is the entirely of the truth.

Anonymous said...

Must thank Anon from September 7, 2020 at 8:38 AM. If what they are saying is true, the Chancellor's email would have easily fooled simple-minded people like myself. Well, that is how the uni management has operated forever.

The chancellor should confirm no other payment was made to Rathjen.

Anonymous said...

So, Rathjen was paid $238,600 + $87,800 when he resigned in July, after standing down for 2 months in early May on "special leave." At an estimated $20,000 a week salary [1], that means he has been paid approximately $486,400 ---  24 weeks salary --- for doing nothing.
It is not clear what dismissal notice period the University is applying in Rathjen's case. [2] indicates the period should be 3 weeks (2 weeks for length of employment + 1 week for age). Because his guilt was already established independently from the ICAC report (the University, after all, had accepted the compensation claim for sexual harassment in April), his "special leave" in May and June should be drawn down from his accumulated Annual leave,.
The University should have begun the process of dismissing him and paying out his leave entitlements which extends only as far as 3 weeks + accumulated annual leave from April, not from the beginning of July after he spent 2 months being paid to do nothing while waiting for a report he already knew was damning.

[1] https://indaily.com.au/news/2020/08/28/uni-kept-vc-in-job-despite-agreement-on-harassment-compo-claim/[2] https://www.fairwork.gov.au/ending-employment/notice-and-final-pay/dismissal-how-much-notice

Anonymous said...

I think paid administrative leave should be refunded to the University if the person investigated is found guilty.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they knew he was guilty when they compensated Ms A. No disciplinary action. I'm sure the sleazebag's contract does not state that regardless of his behaviour, he retains all pay rights.
As Anonymous Sept 7, 10:21 says, dismissal should have been decided at the council meeting where they agreed to compensate Ms A. Immediate suspension of contract or leave without pay until disciplinary action implemented.
They cannot hide behind internal communications issues as, by definition of their responsibility and duty of care, if HR knew they, as the highest (though opaquely appointed with no relevant tertiary experience) leadership body,
are responsible. That's what leadership means. Your system broke down, your responsibility. Put the University's interests ahead of your own and step down, as Scarce did.

Now benefactors and sponsors are nervous https://www.fiveaa.com.au/david-and-will-2/adelaide-uni-could-take-a-big-financial-hit-over-peter-rathjen-scandal-says-david-penberthy/

If they won't do it because it's right, then do it for the money!!

Anonymous said...


https://matildaduncan.net/stories/2019/sept/university-adelaide-by-the-numbers-assault

says, "One University of Adelaide staff member resigned after an external investigator was appointed by the University to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment made against them. Another staff member was provided with a letter of allegations made against them and had their position terminated by the Vice Chancellor Peter Rathjen."

Rathjen apparently expected different standards to apply to him, it seems.

Anonymous said...

Taking up the suggestion to share stories that was made by the anonymous contributor on 7 September, the story of the dismissal of Professor Richards as Dean of Dentistry, which has been referred to before, seems like a case that was handled very poorly.
By all accounts he was a competent and well-regarded Head of School whose “crime” was that he did not always agree with his Executive Dean, Alastair Burt. Little is known of how this was handled but we do know that his contract was suddenly terminated with no real explanation to the School or the wider community that it serves.
Apparently, he lodged a “code of conduct” complaint about Burt’s treatment of him over the years that he was Dean. This was dismissed. From what we heard at the time he appealed on the grounds that the original process lacked transparency and natural justice. There are no details available about the subsequent appeal, for which Rathjen was responsible, the appeal was dismissed and Burt’s behaviour was found to be acceptable.
Professor Richards subsequently left the University, presumably disillusioned and disappointed by an institution that, according to recent LinkedIn messages, he served for 38 years. He now holds senior positions with one of the national regulatory bodies and an international research group. Interestingly the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences refused his application for Emeritus status when he departed, presumably as “payback” for the complaints that he had made about their former Executive Dean.
The outcome of all of this is that bad behaviour appears to have been accepted, a good staff member has moved on, and from what we see on this site, the Dental School is now consumed by allegations of bullying, harassment and mismanagement.

Anonymous said...

At the university forum held an hour ago, the Chancellor heavily criticized previous VC Rathjen for his behavior and previous Chancellor Scarce for not reporting Rathjen's behavior to the council. That was it! Everyone else was on the clear.

Not to forget What the ICAC report wrote about the current Chancellor is not flash either.

The hiring committee members for Rathjen were:
Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd), Previous Chancellor
Professor Ian Young AO, ANU
Professor John Williams, Chair, Academic Board
The Hon Catherine Branson QC, Chair, Audit, Compliance and Risk Committee
Ms Christine Locher, Chair, People and Culture Committee
Mr David Hill, Member, University Council

Branson and Hill have moved up to become Chancellor and Deputy Chancellor. Locher will be in the committee that will appoint the new VC. None of them think they are responsible for rotten culture and bullying in the university but they say they are committed to improve the culture.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, those referred to in the Matilda Duncan blog did not play the game properly. They needed to lie to the Chancellor three times, to a corruption investigator and who knows how mang times to the broader university. Above all you need to be the boss. Then you get to leave wuth a bonus. Don't believe the medical report, unless it states deserved stress in the realisation that a career in sleazebaggery is finally catching up with him. Re some comments above, I wasn't aware you could get an AO for services to sexual harassment!!

Anonymous said...

Branson said, "The course and outcome of the investigation was not then known to the university." Sure, but they'd known he had a case to answer because they'd already decided to compensate Ms A !!!!! They can't seriously believe that compensation is irrelevant to guilt!!! These lawyers are complete psychopaths!!

Anonymous said...

The Chancellor and Council are hiding behind legal technicalities. In their public statements, there is a clear implication that ICAC has no authority in law. Rathjen has not been charged with any offence under law abd how they deal with complaints is entirely a matter for them to decide. All their actions so far make out Scarce to be guilty and Rathjen innocent.

Anonymous said...

Appointments are a bloody sham! VC's and High Court judges seem to be appointed by equally spurious means. Look at Heydon! Appointed by, wait for it, Peter Hollingsworth!!! Oh, and no noise about Heydon's AC being stripped either!!

Anonymous said...

Looks like the boy from Elizabeth High is now finding out that it sure pays to be private. He should have had a chat to White and Barberi in Education. They could have showed him a thing or two.... plus how the establishment looks after its own along North Terrace.

Anonymous said...

Anon from September 8, 2020 at 7:49 PM share common sentiment that "the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences refused his application for Emeritus status when he departed, presumably as “payback” for the complaints that he had made about their former Executive Dean."

The majority of dentistry staff view this as a very poor treatment of a leader who stood up for the school at a time when the Faculty and Central was taking away pretty much all of the school's autonomy. The dental profession/community has rallied behind Richard's Emeritus Professor application. A prominent dental professional met with the Executive Dean, none other than Ben Kile, to support Richard's application but Kile chose to turn a blind eye. Is this what Branson calls treating others with respect?

Ben Kile, Executive Dean, and Richard Logan, Dean, are the ones whose "bad behaviour appears to have been accepted" and we see "the Dental School [being] now consumed by allegations of bullying, harassment and mismanagement." Logan has bullied many many staff under Kile's watch. Sexual harassment by Gue happened under Logan's watch and says he knew nothing before late 2019. This is a blatant lie and he is doing it under Kile's watch. At the school forum some months ago, Kile was blowing Logan's trumpet and rewarding him for his bad behavior. Looks like both are bad managers and leaders behaving badly at the expense of health and welfare of staff for personal gains.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Now UTas are investigating allegations there! Pervy Pete certainly is a creature of habit!

Anonymous said...

So what questions DIDN'T Branson answer at the forum?

Anonymous said...

A wit remarked that at Adelaide Uni there were two types of promotions - reward and merit and most were in the former category. The truth of the this remark can be seen by the Don of Pennington Terrace's elevation to professorial rank by the former VC and the elevation of Corporal Pike of Science to the same rank by the recently departed DVC-A. The latter undoubtedly helped by his support in gutting and closing CLPD. And then look at the people promoted in Arts. All Shaw's acolytes and favourites. Getting a handsome literay award and large grant not enough to secure promotion to Assoc Prof but enough toadying and surveillance admin and a level D is yours. Or if a super bully an E is there for the asking. Of course the latter involves large amounts of time classifying all other colleagues research endeavours as worthless- an activity declared illegal at other universities but positively encouraged here by the loud mouthed North American.

Anonymous said...

I suspect Adelaide doesn't have a monopoly on such behaviour around promotion, contract renewal or contract-to-continuing. A classic is a research empire builder ensuring their low performing lackies are extended, promoted or even made continuing on the dept budget, while great staff who sail over even the most stringent performance hurdles (teaching, publications income, service) are unsupported and eventaully leave. It comes back when the dept has to answer to poor performance numbers, though far too late.

Anonymous said...

Indeed the ICAC Integrity Survey will show that harassment, bullying and HR abuse is the norm.

Anonymous said...

This blog does seem to have become the focus of complaints about the culture at Adelaide. The Dental School and Education have been discussed frequently. Equally unsettling was the removal of Christopher Findlay as Executive Dean of Professions. Another committed and long-term employee of the University, and a charismatic and imaginative leader. Seemingly dismissed overnight by Peter Rathjen, most likely for having the courage to defend his faculty. No explanation or justification ever given.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Rathjen's payout: One might ask, "Does he have anything over senior managers (including the new Chancellor, Branson)? In other words, is this hush money?

Rathjen has prior form in terms of honesty (or lack of honesty) about payouts. He was sacked as Chief Scientific Officer of Bresagen back in the 2000s. He would cant to anyone who would listen (and that was a lot of people) that he never got a cent out of the company. Everyone knew that was nonsense, including of course, the people who owned the company. For a start, Rathjen had a very substantial share holding.

Anonymous said...

Those who have seen Rathjen's press releases via his lawyer will have noted the heading:

"MEDIA RELEASE BY PROFESSOR PETER RATHJEN AO"

No humble pie there.

Also highly notable is the lack of contrition, or ownership of his behaviour, in these releases...and the continued lies (i.e., statements not consistent with the ICAC Commissioner's findings). Here are some examples:

In a statement, Professor Rathjen apologised to the women, but argued there was "no need for this investigation", which he described as "procedurally inadequate".

"I deeply regret the distress and embarrassment that I caused two female staff members after a university function in Sydney in April 2019," he said. "I also deeply regret the fact that, through no fault of their own, they became embroiled in a very public inquiry which they did not seek and did not wish to participate in.

"I apologise to both of them." But he said Mr Lander's finding of "serious misconduct" was "disproportionate to the conduct found".

"Mr Lander has rejected evidence and submissions which did not suit his narrative and drawn unwarranted inferences from those which did," Professor Rathjen said.

Referring to the university function, Professor Rathjen said the university "knew about, investigated and dealt with the matter in May 2019".

"When the then-chancellor, Kevin Scarce, put the allegations to me at that time, I immediately admitted them. I acknowledged a serious error of judgement," he said.

He said the university's senior leadership had not believed what occurred after the work function constituted "serious misconduct", and continued to express confidence in him.

This sort of dissembling and manipulation of the truth is consistent with the outright lies told by Rathjen that the Commissioner exposed. The (predatory) leopard does not change its spots.

Anonymous said...

There are questionable appointments and promotions in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences in line with the Anon's comments on September 11, 2020 at 11:03 PM. The place is poorly managed. If you are incompetent, just make friends in high places.



Anonymous said...

Even if some of the blog comments are true, they reflect serious abuses in Adelaide. That will make Adelaide one of the top universities for bullying and harassment in the world. If the Chancellor had any conscience, she would follow up those comments like the way her predecessor confronted Rathjen about serious misconduct. Will she do the right thing?

Anonymous said...

The aristocratic leadership under Mike Brooks is still heavily advertising Adelaide in the media. Is it how you wanna waste money, or even advertise your battered and bruised reputation, when staff are facing pay cuts and job cuts? Frankly, those advertisements are disgusting.

Anonymous said...

The staff forum involved reading answers from a script that gave half-truths with a goal of providing an impression of transparency to settle the masses. The real reason why Rathjen's payouts were finally publicly disclosed, only after intense media exposure, was because funding donors and grant bodies were pulling funding from the University as they don't want to subsidize and be a part of the horrendous antics.

Note that Branson often said, "in the best interests of the University." This has far reaching implications that staff at the University endure daily. It means that if telling the truth, or doing the right thing leads to poor reputation, a worse outcome, then it is "in the best interests of the University" that the matter is buried in secret by intimidation or payouts. In *this case*, the flip was "in the best interests of the University" that the payouts were publicised in an attempt to thwart funding cancellations, but otherwise would have remained secret. However ...

These blog entries do not emphasise that the VC before Rathjen, Prof Bebbington, WAS ALSO FIRED and yet there was no discussion in the media about his unexplained departure, no truthful reasons provided by the uni, and payout details were hidden - it was intentionally buried. It would be "in the best interest of the university" if it were not exposed as no good would come of it. Incredibly, the *same* "management" team that appointed Bebbington also appointed Rathjen, and are about to appoint a THIRD VC! What is the saying, "fool me once, fool me twice, ..." We have read and heard the games of plausible deniability (I looked the other way so I didn't know, or, I did not have an official report put under my nose even though numerous people knew of the problems but were intimidated from doing anything about it), buck-passing that management intentionally used by hiring external lawyers that provided incorrect advice, taking inordinate amount of time, and blaming each other. There are at least 3 lawyers in play here: QC Branson, an EXPERT lawyer, Williams, and Human Resource boss Elysia Ryan, all masters at playing the game of law to achieve the desired outcome "in the best interests of the University". Where does the buck stop and where is the accountability? If the university were a corporate entity, then people would be demanding that the board, senior executives, and head of HR be replaced. Yet, we are witnessing the same players about to hire a third VC! Unbelievable. Why would anyone believe that matters will be different in the future? Because the university is going to write ANOTHER policy? Hire another external group? There is a fundamental cultural problem at the highest ranks that needs to be a) exposed ; b) flushed.

Anonymous said...

For example, the current DVCR Middelberg was promoted by Rathjen. It was widely known beforehand that Middelberg is difficult and intimidates people. When he was dean of engineering he used the University's legal forces to intimidate and suspend a staff member for merely asking questions of one of Middelberg's cronies that he hired. This was supported throughout the management chain and was eventually overturned. The staff member had to personally fund a legal defence. This was plain bullying and intimidation by management. In another episode, when a staff member raised concerns of bullying from a manager to Middelberg, the staff member was forced to resign and negotiated a payout (hush money)! Middelberg, formerly from QUT, has hired his buddies such as Harris, and others:

https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.18.027431 ;
https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.17.013102 ;
https://doi.org/10.1021/bp0502781 ;
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.08.019 ;
https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-0290(19990220)62:4<455::AID-BIT8>3.0.CO;2-2

made deals with an external company Sillana that now occupy lab space in engineering and do not pay commercial rates, organised to buy a French autonomous farming tractor when no researcher needed it, no one wanted, there was no place to put it, and no funds for its maintenance or operation, or staff salaries. He permitted the hiring of numerous admin staff when they were not needed, created numerous admin roles for academics, created financial turmoil then cut funding to schools to fill the financial holes in the faculty, and then he was promoted by Rathjen to DVCR!

Who else did Rathjen promote, appoint, or create new positions ? The horrendous culture from the executive is a cancer that has metastasized. All Rathjen's antics should be reviewed.

Anonymous said...

Need more examples of intimidation / "in the best interests of the University" ?
An academic WHS Safety representative who was concerned by poor WHS admin staff and their actions, surveyed academics then raised the concerns with the WHS management, was then given a FORMAL written warning for raising concerns! What a great way to instill a safety culture: shoot the messenger and deny problems; straight out the executive management handbook.
Staff are forced by heads of schools to do significant additional work, grossly contravening the Enterprise Agreement, but are too scared to raise concerns. Workload models that are intentionally inadequate, accepting grants that specify 0.25 FTE but only allocating 0.05 FTE, staff allocated work hours exceeding limits, or staff forced to take leave but then not reducing work allocation; or the preferred method is to juggle numbers to below the max limit, force signatures of acceptance, and THEN assign additional work and never update workload models or redistribute work. Is this intimidation, bullying, or intentional incompetence? It is certainly not honest or fair... but there is grievance process, right? And there is no intimidation, bullying or retribution at this university because there is policy for that, right?
Vetting of background knowledge of international students has been removed from schools and now external recruitment companies that are provided recruiting bonuses offer students placements without knowledge checks. Accepting students below the IELTS English language requirements, then running an internal course that passes them, without retaking the IELTs test. Not looking too hard is "in the best interests of the University", because it leads to another international student enrollment. This has led to L&T problems with inadequately prepared international students, who write poor SELT scores, but the money is coming in and that is all that matters. We saw on ABC 4-Corners what happened at Murdoch University (but also happens here) when an academic raised concerns about English standards or required knowledge of international students, or complaints from domestic students that the ill-prepared international students dominate the time of lecturers and tutors so that domestic students don't get adequate time, and so withdrew from classes.
International students who are taught by academics from the same country are given High Distinction grades, whereas moderators give fail grades as students' work is unacceptable; or usually there is no moderation and are just given High Distinction. Heads of Schools overturn grades of international students from fail to pass grades, "in the best interests of the University".
Staff being forced by heads of schools to teach courses that they know nothing about, or allocating graduates to prepare and deliver courses contravening AQF rules, and ignoring staff concerns.
There are numerous examples of serious intellectual property theft from "agents of state actors", that have been covered up "in the best interests of the University" .
An academic that has one of the highest citation rates in the country, also has the highest self-citation rate and is involved in a citation cartel. Whilst not strictly illegal, it is against the research conduct code, has been reported numerous times, but "in the best interest of the university" nothing is done because it leads to high scores in University rankings.
Academics will be nodding and know there is so much more like this going on.

Michael Balter said...

This comment was accidentally deleted:



The aristocratic leadership under Mike Brooks is still heavily advertising Adelaide in the media. Is it how you wanna waste money, or even advertise your battered and bruised reputation, when staff are facing pay cuts and job cuts? Frankly, those advertisements are disgusting.

Anonymous said...

My own view of widespread bullying and intimidation by senior managers and HR has been raised by others in this blog. When one thought it could not get worse with Rathjen, it was just the tip of an iceberg. Rathjen's hiring committee members are not taking any responsibility. Rathjen's appointees are looking after each other, bullying subordinates and lying to everyone else by saying there is no bullying problem in the university. Yet, there are no consequences for lying, intimidating, misleading, cheating, creating big budget holes, promoting those in your own circle and pushing away those who stand up for the true values of the university.

It is time to name and shame those poor administrators - those apart from the ones in dentistry, education and higher management. People are forced to do this because people from the top are protecting them in a self-regulating system with no consequences for doing the wrong thing.

Anonymous said...

In case people have not seen this comment from the earlier blog post on Rathjen

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally do not see the point here or am I missing something.
1. Why does the uni management need someone, a third party to look into this matter? Is the uni management useless f**k heads.
2. Why ICAC not taking any action against the management who could not do their own job? In that case I am totally eligible for VC role.
3. Why is everyone not giving out the names of the culprits? you are anonymous on the blog or use a home laptop or use you phone. (It’s smarter than you are that’s why we call it hem smart phones). Please write down you experience and the name dickheads (don’t Think of me as sexist but both male and female bosses can be cause of problems at work place). At least you will be helping others.
4. How come no body from other departments speaking out??? Come on people.
5. The whole idea of open discussion is not just to blame the culprit whose crime are out there, but to encourage people to talk and learn from others experience.

September 9, 2020 at 6:01 AM

Anonymous said...

What is happening with the ICAC integrity survey? Does anyone know when it will be released? Why isn't ICAC investigating any of the serious claims of bullying and mismanagement by senior management?

Anonymous said...

A word of warning to bloggers here. Under Comcare v Banerji [2019] HCA 23 one may not be able to hide behind supposed anonymity when criticising one's employer. I would not put it past the "leadership" of the University to go after someone they don't like through the courts. After all, they have unlimited University funds to pay for legal expenses. The main thing to emphasis in posts is that we are standing up for the reputation that the University used to have.

https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/politics/26248-banerji-case-sends-warning-shot-for-employees-use-of-social-media

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice that the Chancellor was asked whether staff would be "able to give ~anonymous~ feedback", and she replied that the staff would be able to voice their opinions, but neglected to say whether or not they could do that anonymously?

Anonymous said...

"Referring to the university function, Professor Rathjen said the university "knew about, investigated and dealt with the matter in May 2019"."

Again, the university knew about it, therefore Branson and the council knew about it. Especially as it "dealt" with it. Then it dealt with it again a year later by rewarding the sleaze!

TAKE HIS AO AWAY! Never deserved it in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Would be interesting to know the identity of the highest self-citer. Probably in the "nano" area.
It's both fun and disturbing to look at supposed stars and find they have average self-citation rates that bow the mind. There are a significant number of them with a lot of ARC funding. Especially some who've had Federation/Laureate Fellowships. It's so easy to check. Scopus has a self-cite removal function. But it's the targeted self cites that are amazing! Look at the massive hump just at the H index and watch it drop by 10 points when you remove them.

Anonymous said...

Did Rathjen commit crimes while he was VC at Adelaide? The ICAC investigation and report are preludes to criminal charges being laid by the DPP. Evidence contained in the report, relating to conflicts of business interests and an improper relationship may be enough for the DPP to prosecute Rathjen and Council members who acted as accomplices by aiding and abetting his criminal conduct.

Branson's and the Council's denial of knowledge regarding improper or criminal conduct are implausible. Staff, students, investors and the public, are all angry with Branson and Council members. Continued public pressure may assist in the release of the full ICAC report, which will be in the interest of the vast majority of South Australians.

People should not be afraid to comment anonymously about their employer, especially if they have reasonable suspicion that their employer has engaged in crimes.

Anonymous said...

Saw today that all Adelaide Uni students are going to be required to complete an "Academic Integrity" course. What a f**king joke. Are University managers going to have to complete an integrity course ? - naturally not. And what about all the people engaged in research and citation cartels ? Will they be required to undertake integrity training ? Unlikely. We need to accept that the University's rankings are a result of system gaming - appointing and promoting those who abuse the system knowing there's never going to be any response apart from "well done old chap - our rankings are up". Not a true reflection of quality. True quality comes from dedicated teaching and research staff working their butts off to reinforce the reputation the University used to have before these corporate prostitutes took control. A reputation established over more that a century that has been trashed in 15 years. Well done. All we need now is a Chinese spy as Vice-Chancellor to cap it all off.

Anonymous said...

The management has gaslighted victims and destroyed their academic careers, which has in turn affected their personal lives and health. Some are struggling to live each day. What is there more to lose even if they track you down? Living life under the abuse is not worth life living. Hope the Chancellor is reading this and knows the true extent of the problem in her university.

Anonymous said...

What is the point of teaching academic integrity to students and punishing them for cheating when senior administrators continue to lie/cheat and live in the network of lies that they have created? Even after Rathjen saga, nothing has really changed in university senior management. It is hoping to ride the storm until it quietens down and then continue to abuse the public office. Things are still very bad in Dentistry and Education and many other areas where people have chosen to be silenced.

Absolutely terrible to see the university's reputation being thrashed in the last 15 years but much worse in the last 5 years. Mike Brooks was there when it started declining and is still leading from the front. And there is a big network of incompetent senior managers, who lead by bullying and gaslighting victims and by protecting each other.

Anonymous said...

This comment from https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=3423725371920868922&postID=5648757625669563143&bpli=1 strikes a chord with many of us in Adelaide.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
This incident was quietly outed because they had no choice. This news needs larger traction in the media. But there is vitriol in other academic/cultural spaces that no one calls out because the suspect threatens and bullies victims, and people buy into it, or are in fear of their future that they go along with it because let's admit it, there's a lot of nepotism in hiring practices. Upper management don't see it because the suspect is "one of them", and those of a lower title are deemed not worth listening to. I'm a victim, I've seen other victims get bullied out when they don't go with the program. HR is only there to protect the interest of the employer, they don't care about the employee. That's why so many don't go to HR, why bother. Don't need that blemish following your career, as unfair as it is.

September 12, 2020 at 1:41 PM

Anonymous said...

Replying to Anonymous at September 15, 2020 at 2:36 AM:

"People should not be afraid to comment anonymously about their employer, especially if they have reasonable suspicion that their employer has engaged in crimes."

It is so scary to speak out when you know that those who have engaged in or turned a blind eye to crimes are protected at the highest levels and are unlikely to be held accountable. The ICAC survey earlier this year was everyone's opportunity to comment anonymously about their employer and have their concerns investigated. And yet, if people fully trusted the ICAC processes to get to the truth about Adelaide university and publish it openly, there would be no need for so many people to turn to commenting anonymously on this blog, would there? I think we all know in our bones how this city works. The new commissioner needs to know that we are all watching closely, and concealing anything behind the 'public interest' excuse will not wash.

Anonymous said...

If you were deluded/naive enough to think things were going to change then let disappointment sink in. After the workings behind White's and others appointments in the School of Education were exposed on this blog it is now announced that White is to be Acting Head of Department. One can just see management seeing this as an one more instance of tough management and letting the workers know who really is in charge. Why bother advertising for a VC- surely there is someone up the road at St Peters who can stroll down Payneham Road and don the Vice Chancellorial Robes. Perhaps Murray could come out of retirement and have greatness thrust upon him. Save a headhunters fee. But as someone in another blog hinted at the only way things will change is when donors -large and small - go on a strike and hold onto any donations till the corruption and cronyism end. But then hell may well freeze over before it happens.

Anonymous said...

Still no mention of how Rathjen's wife was appointed to the BHI or Inga Davis (anyone digging on these?), but today's Australian (p7) has something about an appointment at UTas.

Anonymous said...

The Australian, September 18 2020, p.7 (Matthew Denholm)

"A female friend of disgraced university chief Peter Rathjen was appointed to a top post at the University of Tasmania after serving on an earlier selection panel for the same job.

In early 2016, Monique Skidmore, then deputy vice-chancellor (international) at the University of Queensland, sat as an external member of a selection panel to fill the equivalent position at UTAS, where Professor Rathjen was then vice-chancellor.

However, the panel did not recommend anyone for the post of DVC global and Professor Skidmore instead filled the role following a second selection process by a partly altered panel. Concerns about the manner of the appointment were more raised with UTAS, prompting an internal review in June and July this year that found it “met the processes and standards of the time”.

Multiple sources say that at the time of Professor Skidmore’s ­appointment, she and Professor Rathjen had been friends and had served together for years as ­directors of the International Education Association of Australia. In late August this year, a South Australian ICAC report found Professor Rathjen, when later serving as University of ­Adelaide V-C, groped and kissed two female staff, lied about a sexual affair with ­another staff member, and lied ­repeatedly about past claims of sexual harassment.

A UTAS spokesman confirmed an investigation into Professor Skidmore’s appointment had been held. He said an external agency was appointed in February 2016 to undertake recruitment for the position of DVC global. “Monique Skidmore, then DVC internat­ional at the University of Queensland, was an external, expert member of the selection panel,” he said. “In May (2016), a short-listing process was completed and initial interviews were held. No suitable candidates were found.

“In June (2016), the selection panel was advised that Monique Skidmore wished to be considered as an applicant. The selection panel agreed that she would be invited to submit an application and that the ­selection panel would be reconstituted to ensure a fair, transparent and robust process.

“The 12-person selection panel, six of whom were new members of the panel, met in late June (2016) and interviewed three applicants. Monique Skidmore was appointed.” There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Professor Skidmore. Professor Rathjen did not respond to requests for comment. Professor Skidmore said Professor Rathjen asked her to join the selection panel. “All members of the panel wished not to appoint anyone,” she said. “I didn’t find that particularly unusual. At the end of the process the chancellor (Michael Field) asked me if I would be interested in the role. At the end of the process the chancellor offered me the position and council’s relevant subcommittee signed off on an offer.”

Anonymous said...

Our Glorious Interim Leader has such a tin ear he sent out a notification on Adelaide Academic Role Statements a day or so ago. I for one wonder what this will look like for the future new VC?

Article 1. Thou shalt not sexually assault your underlings ...

perhaps?

Anonymous said...

So Weinstein has his CBE stripped by the Queen. Seems the least SA Govt could do is petition Canberra to have Pervy Pete's AO revoked, if the student body and staff aren't doing so already. Heydon's AC should go too. It is also "egregious" that such animals survive with such honours intact. Diminishes the award for those who carry it, and dimishes us all as a people.

Anonymous said...

I note most of Joy Rathjen's top cited papers have Pervy Pete as author too. Mostly as last author. Don't know which way round this has gone, but "gift" authorship is all too common in many institutions. I've heard stories from all three SA universities from students and junior researchers having their efforts diluted to elevate the performance metrics of partners. Speaking up immediately has you disciplined or contract not renewed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, how did Joy Rathjen become one of two science director of the BHI?
I mean, look at their track records. Joy Rathjen has an H of 23 (~3000 citations) while Mike Roberts has an H of 84 (27 000 citatikns)!!! Even the director, Guy Maddern hax an H of 80 (~24000 citations).
Smacks of an engineered position to me.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. According to the BHI website
2011 – 2014: Senior Research Fellow, Menzies Institute of Medical Research, University of Tasmania
2014 – 2017: Senior Research Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Tasmania.
So 6-7 years in a research intensive position and her citation rate started dropping a year in (2012). Even using Google data looks like 18 papers in the last 9-10 years, majority co-authored with the sleaze and two of the papers aren't science-based. How is she an A/Prof?

Anonymous said...

Scopus shows 6 papers over the past 5 years, with an H-index of 5.

https://www.scopus.com/authid/detail.uri?authorId=6603751092

If anyone thinks this person does not deserve A/Prof, think again. There are other researchers, some as Research Deans, who have worse record, so it is about equity, right? Of course, having a VC's backup helps. If people think it is nepotism, they are a jealous bunch who will always whinge.

Anonymous said...

Well she has more than White in Education who was appointed as an Associate professor direct from St Peters and is now defacto head of school and on his way to head of school- probably while others are targeted for retrenchment
So never forget it pays to be private!

Anonymous said...

A propos of nothing, does the term Circular Key [sic] mean anything to anybody in connection to the university?

Anonymous said...

With regards to the comment,
“ A wit remarked that at Adelaide Uni there were two types of promotions - reward and merit and most were in the former category.”

I know 3 male staff that were promoted to Professor at Uni Adelaide in recent years that had: no journal conference book patent publications, had never taught undergraduate students, had never supervised PhD students, had never obtained any research funding. One of them does not have a PhD! They are all doing senior admin positions now, and were promoted by Rathjen / Brooks.

This is the complete opposite of the requirements listed in the Professors as leaders document released by Rathjen and Brooks that professors should be internationally recognized experts in their field.

How did it happen? Simple. Mates.

It saddens me to see academics killing themselves teaching, supervising, doing great research, fighting to get research grants, getting national recognition awards, working weekends ,60-70hrs / week, only to be turned down each promotion round, and watch in disbelief as others with zero track record get promoted.

Anonymous said...

Any number of wrongs don't make a right.

Anonymous said...

Administrator Profs were the bane of the system when the Dawkins era universities were formed. Many of those department heads, whether PhD's or not, became Profs. I recall the sandstones being the most vocal about this at one point. Of course, as AnonymousSeptember 20, 2020 at 6:01 PM shows, even the Go8's are doing it. It doesn't stop there. Who needs any tertiary experience to be a council member these days?

Anonymous said...

As a science director??? There are post docs with a much better recent track record!!!

Anonymous said...

"A propos of nothing, does the term Circular Key [sic] mean anything to anybody in connection to the university?"

Ah, the funny handshakes brigade... Lots begins to make sense.

Anonymous said...

It is obviously good to have a forum like this to expose wrongdoing and injustice. The challenge is to identify a way forward. From reading all of this it looks like lots of good people have left. Maybe it is time for the senior management to demonstrate that things have changed by seeing what can be done to entice some of these people to return.

If what has been said about the Dental School is correct, it sounds like the former Dean, Professor Richards, was a trusted and highly regarded mentor and leader. Maybe he could be enticed back from wherever he is. Perhaps with a few more years of service he might even qualify for emeritus status on his second retirement, something he appears to have been denied as payback for his criticism of the discredited former Executive Dean, Alastair Burt!

Anonymous said...

There is a "Golden Key" group which is a bit like a US fraternity, but it is harmless. Just something that top students are nominated for by their School.

Anonymous said...

The Joy Rathjen position was "created". No consultation, no normal HR process for new positions. Funded out of hospital research grant. WTF? They just do what they want. A law unto themselves.

Anonymous said...

The dental school is in very bad hands. The current dean, Richard Logan is being protected by the Executive Dean, Benjamin (Ben) Kile. Logan is a bully and protector of sexual harasser, who got fired by Women's and Children's Hospital after the administrators could no longer ignore major, serious complaints. Under Logan's leadership, many postgraduate students have suffered because he failed to protect them. May be was just scared of the harasser but then what does that make him as the harasser's supervisor? Someone who has no backbone and cannot say a word against the harasser working under him while continuing to co-author papers with the harasser. Oh.... he was getting benefit from the harasser - why would he discipline them?
And that incompetent dean is leading the dental school into a big decline. Arguably the worst dean in the school's history. And Kile is protecting this guy - he is siding with the bully and incompetent leader who protected the harasser.

Anonymous said...

Reply to Anonymous (September 22, 2020 at 4:26 AM):

"There is a "Golden Key" group which is a bit like a US fraternity, but it is harmless. Just something that top students are nominated for by their School."

There's Golden Key, but then there are actual Freemasons. The Freemasons Foundation actually has a research centre for men's health based at Adelaide University, so there is a material connection. If you follow the link you can see just how well connected the people are who are involved with the board. Includes the SA Governor, those with connections to the police and the judiciary. Are any of them Masons themselves? Are any members of the University's executive management team?

https://www.adelaide.edu.au/freemasons-foundation-centre-for-mens-health/about-us/board-of-patrons#previous-patrons

The recurring theme of St Peter's also has a very strong Freemasonry vibe, by the way. The school's online portal is even called 'Keystone', one of Freemasonry's most powerful symbols. So that _could_ help explain why the old boys' network is so abiding and powerful, why some people seem to walk into plum jobs, or maybe have their bad behaviour overlooked. Surely doesn't explain everything, but it deserves some serious attention and investigation. Wouldn't it be awful, for example, if some of the university's high-ups enjoyed institutional protection that extended beyond the four walls of the university?

Anonymous said...

Chancellor's idea of "consultation" with staff over the appointment of new VC.
1, Selection criteria already decided (by whom ?).
2. Staff asked to "rank" the pre-determined selection criteria - this is the consultation part in case you missed it.
3. Staff have no say over who is short-listed or who is appointed.
4. Process justified by the appointment of some private recruiting firm as if that justifies the process. Pathetic, especially coming from a former judge who should know better.

This is the kind of garbage they just keep getting away with. Staff demand a vote on who is going to be our leader.

Anonymous said...

Same sort of consultation that got Pete Protector Branson her job on council and now Chancellor. None.
It is as clear as day that Branson made a deal with Sleazy Pete. The timing was so perfect. Back me in ousting Scarce and support me for Chancellor, and I'll see that your exit is rewarded.

Anonymous said...

You can bet the reason the ICAC Integrity Survey has not been released is that Branson has persuaded Vanstone to delay until a new VC is installed.

Anonymous said...

Been wondering about why the ICAC is not releasing the integrity survey data.

Staff will be "consulted" but just for the show but decisions are usually made prior to consultation anyway. That is what they did with Professional Staff Review (PSR). Do not trust anything they say.