Academics may face new charges | The Courier-Mail

Academics may face new charges | The Courier-Mail

Garry and John are now facing dismissal from QUT over the “laughing at the disabled” PhD row.
The university is apparently preparing “serious misconduct” charges against the pair.
I understand that both sides are consulting lawyers and one colleague at QUT says that the atmosphere is poisonous in the faculty.
My friend says that the “cultural studies” group, including the supervisors of Michael Noonan’s controversial thesis, are “celebrating” the suspension of MacLennan and Hookham, while others are shocked and outraged. This in itself is an indictment of the whole sorry saga and their gleeful, some would say “playful” adoption of postmodern morals – anything goes, the sacred is profane and if you disagree – go f*ck yourself..

It really hasn’t been well-handled by the university, whatever the merits of the original dispute. Both sides claim their position is backed by factions in the disabled community and the real issues have been buried in the disciplinary procedures.

In my experience no one escapes the vice of such actions when they’re taken by powerful institutions. The whistleblowing legislation, such as it is in Queensland and Australia, does not have a proud history of protecting whistleblowers, rather it sets them up for the inglorious public hanging that Garry and John have now endured.

8 Responses to Academics may face new charges | The Courier-Mail

  1. Lets get clear on this says:

    marty, you are making an assumption when you describe hookham and maclennan as ‘whistleblowers’. This term is used for people who alert others to corrupt or innapropriate activity. I would suggest you have no evidence whatsoever to support this assessment. From what I have observer, QUT have been absolutely scrupulous in their handling of this issue, whereas hookham and maclennan have been waging a rather dirty war in the press.

    its not something that commands my respect, i can tell you, nor does it command the respect of their QUT colleagues almost all of whom are in support of the universities actions in the matter.

  2. Lets get clear on this says:

    marty, you are making an assumption when you describe hookham and maclennan as ‘whistleblowers’. This term is used for people who alert others to corrupt or innapropriate activity. I would suggest you have no evidence whatsoever to support this assessment. From what I have observer, QUT have been absolutely scrupulous in their handling of this issue, whereas hookham and maclennan have been waging a rather dirty war in the press.

    its not something that commands my respect, i can tell you, nor does it command the respect of their QUT colleagues almost all of whom are in support of the universities actions in the matter.

  3. Marty says:

    I think the term whistleblower is appropriate here because they brought to public attention an issue about which they felt strongly and about which they had serious concerns over the university’s ethics approval processes.
    Corruption takes many forms, perhaps here they were exposing intellectual corruption, not the stealing of funds, etc.

  4. Marty says:

    I think the term whistleblower is appropriate here because they brought to public attention an issue about which they felt strongly and about which they had serious concerns over the university’s ethics approval processes.
    Corruption takes many forms, perhaps here they were exposing intellectual corruption, not the stealing of funds, etc.

  5. Michelle Douglass says:

    For a long time there, I was actually on Michael Noonan’s side of the dispute he, and his supervisor QUT Assoc Prof Alan McKee, were having with MacLennan and Hookham. It was ok that Noonan’s earlier film is to screen at this year’s Brisbane International Film Festival. (Festival embraces controversy)

    But I find it extremely disturbing to learn that Noonan is also the director of the Queensland Short Film Festival, and that the QSFF is going to run on QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct:

    entries are now being taken for this year’s [Qld Short Film] festival, which is in its second year at the QUT Creative Industries Precinct: “For the first time, the QSFF will screen all submitted films, with festival director and founder Michael Noonan understanding the difficulty in getting films screened and the cost involved. ‘The festival is about limiting these two frustrations,’ he says. ‘There’s no cost to enter, no cost to come and watch the films and best of all, we are only screening Queensland product.'”
    (It’s All About Image)

    There’s something more to all of this than QUT official statments would have us believe.

    Perhaps QUT can indeed be changed with stifling free speech in order to save something of its (now very diminshed) community reputation.

    Even though I’m still not convinced that Hookham and MacLennan should have used a student (Noonan) to launch an attack against postmodernign (and McKee), I’m coming down on the side of Ross Fitzgerald who has recently stated that Hookham and McKee “didn’t break legs or slash tyres, they simply wrote, as academics are wont to do, a strident critique in the Higher Education supplement of this newspaper arguing that laughing at the disabled was ethically impaired. As it happens, both have children with disabilities. And if that wasn’t bad enough, one reason proffered for the decision to punish Hookham and MacLennan was that they offended the freedom of expression of the PhD student!”
    (Ross Fitzgerald: The right to say even the unsayable must survive
    )

    And maybe all those bloggers who write that while they still have some sympathy with Noonan’s postition in the dispute, are right when they say that he’s been too heavily influenced by his PhD supervisor, Alan McKee.

    Perhaps there are indeed reasons to begin not trusting the official statements and press releases from QUT.

  6. Michelle Douglass says:

    Up till now, I was actually on Michael Noonan’s side of the dispute he, and his supervisor QUT Assoc Prof Alan McKee, were having with MacLennan and Hookham. It was ok that Noonan’s earlier film is to screen at this year’s Brisbane International Film Festival. (Festival embraces controversy http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,20797,21973316-3102,00.html?from=public_rss )

    But I find it extremely disturbing to learn that Noonan is also the director of the Queensland Short Film Festival, and that the QSFF is going to run on QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct:

    entries are now being taken for this year’s [Qld Short Film] festival, which is in its second year at the QUT Creative Industries Precinct: “For the first time, the QSFF will screen all submitted films, with festival director and founder Michael Noonan understanding the difficulty in getting films screened and the cost involved. ‘The festival is about limiting these two frustrations,’ he says. ‘There’s no cost to enter, no cost to come and watch the films and best of all, we are only screening Queensland product.'” ( It’s All About Image http://www.springhillvoice.com/media.html )

    On the surface, this seems like a worthwhile enterprise. I don’t want to imagine conspiracies everywhere if there are none, but surely QUT can perhaps indeed be charged with stifling the free speech of the two whistle blowers in order to save something of that University’s (now very diminshed) community reputation.

    There’s something more to all of this than QUT official statments would have us believe. Perhaps there are now reasons emerging that no longer premit us to trust QUT’s official statements and press releases.

    Even though I’m still not convinced that Hookham and MacLennan should have used a student (Noonan) to launch an attack against postmodernisn (and McKee’s alleged ‘moral relativism’), I’m coming down on the side of Ross Fitzgerald who has recently stated that Hookham and McKee “didn’t break legs or slash tyres, they simply wrote, as academics are wont to do, a strident critique in the Higher Education supplement of this newspaper arguing that laughing at the disabled was ethically impaired. As it happens, both have children with disabilities. And if that wasn’t bad enough, one reason proffered for the decision to punish Hookham and MacLennan was that they offended the freedom of expression of the PhD student!” ( Ross Fitzgerald: The right to say even the unsayable must survive http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21999349-7583,00.html )

    Maybe all those bloggers who write that while they still have some sympathy with Noonan’s postition in the dispute, are right when they say that Noonan’s been too heavily influenced by the postmodern relativism of his PhD supervisor, Alan McKee. As other bloggers and commentators have noted, McKee hasn’t come out in support his student Noonan. What are we to make of this?

    I would like to trust Michael Noonan; he seems sincere in his youtube and press statements. I’m no longer able to trust the statements and good intentions of QUT or its agents. Perhaps the call for Noonan to ditch Alan McKee’s as his supervisor might restore some trust in Noonan and his work.

    Hopefully, MacLennan and Hookham’s lawyers can cut through QUT’s official statements, and any alleged conspiracies of silence.

    This whole thing is becoming curiouser and curiouser.

  7. Michelle Douglass says:

    Up till now, I was actually on Michael Noonan’s side of the dispute he, and his supervisor QUT Assoc Prof Alan McKee, were having with MacLennan and Hookham. It was ok that Noonan’s earlier film is to screen at this year’s Brisbane International Film Festival. (Festival embraces controversy http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,20797,21973316-3102,00.html?from=public_rss )

    But I find it extremely disturbing to learn that Noonan is also the director of the Queensland Short Film Festival, and that the QSFF is going to run on QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct:

    entries are now being taken for this year’s [Qld Short Film] festival, which is in its second year at the QUT Creative Industries Precinct: “For the first time, the QSFF will screen all submitted films, with festival director and founder Michael Noonan understanding the difficulty in getting films screened and the cost involved. ‘The festival is about limiting these two frustrations,’ he says. ‘There’s no cost to enter, no cost to come and watch the films and best of all, we are only screening Queensland product.'” ( It’s All About Image http://www.springhillvoice.com/media.html )

    On the surface, this seems like a worthwhile enterprise. I don’t want to imagine conspiracies everywhere if there are none, but surely QUT can perhaps indeed be charged with stifling the free speech of the two whistle blowers in order to save something of that University’s (now very diminshed) community reputation.

    There’s something more to all of this than QUT official statments would have us believe. Perhaps there are now reasons emerging that no longer premit us to trust QUT’s official statements and press releases.

    Even though I’m still not convinced that Hookham and MacLennan should have used a student (Noonan) to launch an attack against postmodernisn (and McKee’s alleged ‘moral relativism’), I’m coming down on the side of Ross Fitzgerald who has recently stated that Hookham and McKee “didn’t break legs or slash tyres, they simply wrote, as academics are wont to do, a strident critique in the Higher Education supplement of this newspaper arguing that laughing at the disabled was ethically impaired. As it happens, both have children with disabilities. And if that wasn’t bad enough, one reason proffered for the decision to punish Hookham and MacLennan was that they offended the freedom of expression of the PhD student!” ( Ross Fitzgerald: The right to say even the unsayable must survive http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21999349-7583,00.html )

    Maybe all those bloggers who write that while they still have some sympathy with Noonan’s postition in the dispute, are right when they say that Noonan’s been too heavily influenced by the postmodern relativism of his PhD supervisor, Alan McKee. As other bloggers and commentators have noted, McKee hasn’t come out in support his student Noonan. What are we to make of this?

    I would like to trust Michael Noonan; he seems sincere in his youtube and press statements. I’m no longer able to trust the statements and good intentions of QUT or its agents. Perhaps the call for Noonan to ditch Alan McKee’s as his supervisor might restore some trust in Noonan and his work.

    Hopefully, MacLennan and Hookham’s lawyers can cut through QUT’s official statements, and any alleged conspiracies of silence.

    This whole thing is becoming curiouser and curiouser.

  8. Michelle Douglass says:

    For a long time there, I was actually on Michael Noonan’s side of the dispute he, and his supervisor QUT Assoc Prof Alan McKee, were having with MacLennan and Hookham. It was ok that Noonan’s earlier film is to screen at this year’s Brisbane International Film Festival. (Festival embraces controversy)

    But I find it extremely disturbing to learn that Noonan is also the director of the Queensland Short Film Festival, and that the QSFF is going to run on QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct:

    entries are now being taken for this year’s [Qld Short Film] festival, which is in its second year at the QUT Creative Industries Precinct: “For the first time, the QSFF will screen all submitted films, with festival director and founder Michael Noonan understanding the difficulty in getting films screened and the cost involved. ‘The festival is about limiting these two frustrations,’ he says. ‘There’s no cost to enter, no cost to come and watch the films and best of all, we are only screening Queensland product.'”
    (It’s All About Image)

    There’s something more to all of this than QUT official statments would have us believe.

    Perhaps QUT can indeed be changed with stifling free speech in order to save something of its (now very diminshed) community reputation.

    Even though I’m still not convinced that Hookham and MacLennan should have used a student (Noonan) to launch an attack against postmodernign (and McKee), I’m coming down on the side of Ross Fitzgerald who has recently stated that Hookham and McKee “didn’t break legs or slash tyres, they simply wrote, as academics are wont to do, a strident critique in the Higher Education supplement of this newspaper arguing that laughing at the disabled was ethically impaired. As it happens, both have children with disabilities. And if that wasn’t bad enough, one reason proffered for the decision to punish Hookham and MacLennan was that they offended the freedom of expression of the PhD student!”
    (Ross Fitzgerald: The right to say even the unsayable must survive
    )

    And maybe all those bloggers who write that while they still have some sympathy with Noonan’s postition in the dispute, are right when they say that he’s been too heavily influenced by his PhD supervisor, Alan McKee.

    Perhaps there are indeed reasons to begin not trusting the official statements and press releases from QUT.

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