My pals John Hookham and Garry MacLennan have been suspended without pay from the Queensland University of Technology for six months. This is an effective sacking for these courageous academics who have spoken out about a very poorly thought-out PhD thesis dealing with humour and disability.
The sacking is cowardly because it means that QUT does not have to deal with the substantial issues that Hookham and MacLennan raised (for the background, track down the blog).
If the two are suspended without pay they are effectively silenced and humiliated. As Garry said, the brutality of this action is astounding.
The university is defending itself against criticism of some of its ethics approval procedures and the intellectual rigour of some of the supervising academics who are managing the controversial thesis topic.
As Garry and John pointed out in their original article critiquing the Doctorate, the moral relativism of postmodern “theory” has won the day here.
This is a shameful day for QUT and signals very strongly that academic freedom in Australia is under the administrative hammer.