Senior ANU academic Robert Cribb has resigned as a distinguished visiting scholar at Murdoch U in protest at the university’s law suit against a staffer.
The university is claiming damages from academic Gerd Schroeder Turk who went public with concerns about the progress of international students.
Professor Cribb is an historian of Asia at ANU and was a Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Visiting Scholar and an adjunct professor at Murdoch University.
“The freedom to raise matters of public concern is a precious right which is under attack from many directions. Universities, by virtue of their intellectual mandate, ought to be bastions defending the right of free speech and freedom of information,” Professor Cribb states in a letter to VC Eeva Leinonen.
“I have greatly appreciated my past association with Murdoch University and I continue in my admiration for the high quality of Murdoch academics, but the action of the university management against Associate Professor Schröder-Turk makes it impossible for me to continue this association,” he adds.
Professor Cribb’s resignation follows 57 ARC Laureate Fellows writing to Professor Leinonen, arguing, “it is a long-established principle of academic freedom that academics must be able to criticise university governance.”
Last night Murdoch U DVC David Morrison responded to Professor Cribb, expressing regret at his resignation, adding;
“while we are unable to comment on legal matters, I invite you to appraise yourself of the facts surrounding the case so you can be personally reassured that Murdoch is, and will continue to be, a fine university committed to the fundamental principles of free speech.”