Latest Surprise Firing at Australian Catholic University


In the latest of a series of actions that appear to be an attempt prove itself an employer of last resort, Australian Catholic University (ACU) has fired philosopher Stephen Finlay, the former director of its Dianoia Institute, which it abruptly shut down last year, despite the fact that it announced at the time that Finlay would have a position in its Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry.

Details about the closure of the Dianoia Institute last year are here (and here). Readers may recall that ACU lured Finlay and about a dozen other philosophers to Australia with the creation of a philosophy research institute, beginning in 2019, and continuing to hire new people as late as 2023. Later in 2023 the university abandoned the project, selling its destruction of the institute with the promise that a few philosophers associated with it, including Finlay, would still have jobs at ACU.

It now has abandoned that commitment.

In a Facebook post that has been circulating among philosophers, Finlay writes:

I’m sorry to have to share that as of June 14th, 2024 I find myself unexpectedly unemployed. I was informed by management on May 30th that my employment at the Australian Catholic University was being terminated, as my continuing position as Professor of Philosophy is “no longer required”. While I am dying to be able to share more about events at ACU, I cannot say more at present.

My family and I are now in a dire situation, as the timing of this could hardly be worse. I had expected to have a continuing position at ACU for 2024 onwards at the conclusion of my 5-year administrative term as Director of the (former) Dianoia Institute of Philosophy. International vacancies for the 2024-25 academic year were filled months ago, and jobs for the 2025-26 academic year have not even been advertised yet and will mostly not commence for another 12-15 months. I’m therefore putting out an urgent SOS for any kind of temporary or part-time university affiliation(s)–such as visiting fellowships or adjunct roles–that would help us pay the bills over the next year until I am able to secure new permanent employment. I’m open to travelling to and spending time in residence in any part of the world, although would prefer to minimize time separated from my family in Melbourne to any extent possible—recognizing of course that beggars can’t be choosers.

It would be nice to be able to report on some good news about ACU in regard to its employees. Until then, let this be a warning to academics everywhere: don’t accept an offer from Australian Catholic University.

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C. M.
C. M.
15 days ago

Wow. Who at ACU continues to think that these are good ideas? It’s almost as if they get some masochistic enjoyment in destroying their own reputation.

Matthew Kramer
15 days ago

Australian Catholic University existed in a swamp of obscurity before it created the Dianoia Institute. It emerged from that obscurity for a while with an array of top-notch philosophers at the Institute. Having destroyed the Institute and everything associated with it, the ACU will now settle back into the ooze of the swamp from which it will never again emerge.

S.M.
S.M.
15 days ago

Steve’s a top-notch philosopher and a great person; any department would be lucky to have him, their students lucky to be taught by him.

An adjunct
An adjunct
15 days ago

sounds like pretty much the situation adjuncts find themselves in regularly, but it doesn’t usually raise alarm bells in the profession, perhaps because people imagine ‘there will always be some adjunct position somewhere’.

Michel
Reply to  An adjunct
14 days ago

Yes, but the difference is that it wasn’t an adjunct position.

Derek Bowman
Reply to  Michel
14 days ago

I feel like you’ve missed the point ‘An adjunct’ was making. If we are alarmed at the undeserved fate of Prof Finlay, we should also be concerned about the fact that such employment conditions are par for the course for a significant percentage of the profession.

It is certainly alarming when the precarity experienced by adjuncts extends even to more established members of the profession, who should have been able to count on the employment guarantees they were given.

But it is also predictable. Whatever differences we may think we see between the tenured and adjunct members of our profession, to many administrators the only difference is that the more established faculty cost more.

Last edited 14 days ago by Derek Bowman
An adjunct
An adjunct
Reply to  Derek Bowman
14 days ago

yes, why is it that some should be able to count on guarantees and for others guarantees are effectively unthinkable? those of us in the latter class constitute a warning to the former class that the guarantees are not reliable.

Formerly adjunct, but still remebers
Formerly adjunct, but still remebers
Reply to  An adjunct
10 days ago

It’s because the senior people who have become suddenly alarmed think that they are better, and that they got to where they are because of their merit, and that the the system is basically meritocratic and awards people what they deserve based on their talent. It’s classic Just World Fallacy.

Student
Student
Reply to  An adjunct
14 days ago

Do adjuncts usually move with their families between places as far away as the US and Australia for jobs on the understanding that the job is permanent? I don’t think they do. So, although the situation of adjuncts is bad, I don’t think it’s the same situation Steve is in.

And I think it matters whether adjunct jobs are advertised as adjunct jobs or not – it makes a big difference to me, anyway, as someone on the job market, whether job descriptions are accurate. It would cause more problems for me to take a job that’s advertised as permanent when it’s in fact only for a semester than to take a similar job that’s advertised as only for a semester, because making decisions on the understanding I have a permanent job when in fact I don’t doesn’t work well for me. (I recently had a job offer withdrawn because of the university’s financial situation, and it would have been much better for me to not have received the job offer.)

I think it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t matter whether universities deceive adjunct staff about how long they’re being hired for because they already treat them so badly. So, I think it’s possible to recognize that adjunct faculty are in a bad position and still think that ACU’s actions are particularly bad.

Kenny Easwaran
Reply to  An adjunct
14 days ago

Alarm bells are generally only appropriate for unexpected things. Alarm bells are intended to announce when something new has changed in a way that might make things worse. But if you have alarm bells for well-known ongoing situations, then alarm bells cease to function, and just prevent people from focusing on the important things they are doing, both related to that problem, and to others.

There has been a lot of useful discussion of the decades-long increase in adjunct employment as a percentage of instruction in universities (though I haven’t seen much useful quantification of how much it has been going on in philosophy, rather than other disciplines). But there’s no point in ringing alarm bells when a position that was advertised as a temporary position, which was never suggested to be anything other than temporary, ends a the scheduled time.

However, people at Australian universities, I believe most of whom formally have temporary positions but who have been promised that they are effectively continuing positions, are definitely interested in knowing that these promises aren’t necessarily as binding as might be expected. This is a change that is worth alerting them to, maybe even with bells.

Neil Levy
Neil Levy
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
14 days ago

I think you’re misdescribing Australian academic appointments. I’m sure there are people who formally have temporary positions but who have expectations of renewal. But that’s far from the norm.

Most temporary positions are expected to be temporary. The equivalent of tenure in Australia is a continuing position. A continuing position has no end date and no renewal process. Historically, most continuing positions continue.

But there are no tenure protections.
Australian workers generally have more protections than workers in the US. Australian academics have much the same protections as other workers. These are much weaker than the protections available in some other countries (though the UK is not very different in this respect). Australian academics with continuing positions can be dismissed in a variety of ways: typically for alleged underperformance, or by having their position declared redundant.

Monitor
Monitor
Reply to  Neil Levy
14 days ago

Steve cannot respond to Neil’s points, which are correct but potentially not relevant to the case at hand.

First, I will note that the ads that ACU ran (still online) represented the meaning of ‘continuing’ very differently:

“*Note: These positions are not fixed-term but continuing, which, in the Australian context, means there is no end date and would normally continue until such time as the staff member resigns or retires. A period of probation may be attached to these positions. Please consult us if you need further information.”

So, while I don’t dispute Neil’s representation of what ‘continuing’ means, ACU represented the meaning of ‘continuing’ very differently to the people they were recruiting.

Source: https://philjobs.org/job/show/13118

Second, there is no indication that Steve’s position was made redundant and no suggestion that he underperformed or was terminated for cause.

An adjunct
An adjunct
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
14 days ago

why would academics in permanent positions, technically able to see (however much they may have ignored) adjunct employment conditions and the continual shrinkage and closure of programs, not have inferred, let’s say, that permanence is relative, and unstable? the time to be doing something was quite some time ago, when the problem did not seem to affect those who enjoy promises and other such niceties.

Monitor
Monitor
Reply to  An adjunct
12 days ago

In what way? When I was contingent faculty, I did not have a continuing position in any sense of the term. My understanding is that Steve was lured to ACU with the promise of a continuing position. Continuing positions are not protected in the way that tenured positions are in the US or permanent positions in the UK are (although ACU ran ads to try to either change this with pre-contractual promises or to use misrepresentations to induce people to sign contracts), but it is an interesting question whether terminating a particular person’s employment in a continuing position without cause is in keeping with Steve’e legal rights (either because of the particulars of his case or because of the relatively weak protections of a continuing position*)

* NB: I assume that Steve had the protections of at least a continuing position. One wrinkle might be that he had an executive role. I believe that people can have both and I have no insider information to share on the precise nature of his employment. But I see no reason to think that this is similar to the way that contingent faculty are treated. That is a structural injustice where we need better employment conditions and laws to beef up the rights of contingent faculty members. This might just be a local injustice that infringed upon the rights that Steve had.

** Similarly, can people stop saying that ‘Oh, tenured people lose their jobs in the US, so…’ True. And it’s awful. But it’s different. ACU did not terminate Steve’s employment by closing a unit or a department. All the other philosophers are still employed. He survived the first cull. This is the termination of a single person’s employment. This would not be allowed if Steve had tenure unless, perhaps, he was a department of one.

I think people mean well when they write these things, but for fuck’s sake, stop doing the PR work for a nasty university. You’re giving them cover. Let them explain why they terminated Steve and only Steve despite the appearance that he had job protections that would forbid this.

An adjunct
An adjunct
Reply to  Monitor
12 days ago

i’m sure steve is a great guy, loves children, argues validly, etc. etc., and from the sound of it the people in charge at his university sound like assholes.

but i could just as well say that items like this one give cover for the ongoing structural problem. academics with protections raise a mild fuss whenever someone loses a job that was ‘theirs’, because it impugns their own sense of entitlement and raises the anxiety that eventually the same will happen to them. but there are many more de facto colleagues in the profession who regularly have, and then cease to have, employment, without this ever becoming newsworthy. nobody sends out warnings calling departments who cut adjunct assignments ‘employers of last resort’, though it is certainly an implication of justin’s post that adjunct employment is a conceivably later resort than some other jobs. as a profession our priorities remain hopelessly individualistic and oriented toward prestige. it bears repeating that the professional gossip-blog model that justin appropriated from leiter as the basis for daily nous is a poor instrument for addressing the continual erosion of academic philosophy as a profession.

grymes
grymes
Reply to  Monitor
12 days ago

There are many cases in the US—including perhaps most prominently in many departments at WVU—where tenured lines have been eliminated (and the tenured professors occupying them have been fired without cause) without the unit or department being closed. It’s just false that this isn’t allowed when people have tenure. University bylaws allow tenured lines to be eliminated when the administration decides the line is no longer fiscally warranted. And given the new ROI-centric fiscal model that has captured institutions in the US and Australia, it’s possible for administrations to get away with declaring just about any line to be no longer fiscally warranted (as the case of WVU demonstrates).

How pointing this out constitutes PR or cover for ACU is beyond me.

Solidarity with Steve.

Anne Newstead
14 days ago

Predictably, the spread of years of neoliberal economic management and corporatisation at universities provides the context for this type of behaviour by the ACU. Presumably, under this model, there will still be plenty of funds–millions in fact– for the external management consultant and administrator who advised eliminating Professor Finlay’s position, despite Finlay having been hired on the understanding that he would have a “continuing” position at the university. It turns out his position was only “continuing” only so long as the Dianoia Institute continued to exist! And we now know that research institutions–particularly at badly run places– are ephemeral things, mere will o’ the wisp, they pop in and out of existence all the time. Moreover, we are also advised that having a continuing contract at a research institute by no means guarantees an actually continuing position at the university that owns the research institute.

These insights must be particularly hard for anyone from overseas who thought (and was led to think) that “continuing” positions at Australian universities were equivalent to “tenured” positions. Neil Levy is quite correct that continuing positions are not equivalent to tenured ones. This creates a legal loophole for ACU to maintain it did not break a promise to Professor Finlay.

grymes
grymes
Reply to  Anne Newstead
14 days ago

Tenured professors are losing their jobs left and right in the US. So I don’t know if the lesson to draw is that “continuing” is not equivalent to “tenured” (in the relevant respect, which has nothing directly to do with protecting academic speech), so much as that neither “tenured” nor “continuing” means that you can expect to have a job until retirement anymore.

Kenny Easwaran
Reply to  grymes
9 days ago

“Left and right” doesn’t sound accurate here. At the rate we’ve seen tenured professors losing their jobs in the US, I think the average US professor would expect it to hit them some time within the next 100 years or something.

People who are at institutions whose economic situation is somewhat marginal might reasonably be more worried (as far as I can tell, all the ones mentioned in the past year and a half on Daily Nous are state universities in states whose population is shrinking, or small Catholic colleges and thus also tied to a shrinking demographic).

grymes
grymes
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
9 days ago

I suspect you’re underestimating the percentage of institutions whose economic situation is somewhat marginal. As you mention in the next post, the entire country is going to see declines in college-age population over the next few years, and the vast majority of institutions of higher education in the US are either non-elite state institutions or non-elite private institutions (including but by no means limited to Catholic institutions)–the vast majority of which are foreseeing (if not already facing) serious economic difficulties. The “average US professor” works at one of those institutions.

As for “left and right”, I didn’t mean anything precise by that phrase, but I will note that at least 125 institutions have made cuts since August 2023: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/16uTHBFk_tPkraw5kI21xqRY0RcxTx1a0aidolP0KVVQ/edit?usp=sharing

Kenny Easwaran
Reply to  grymes
9 days ago

I should add – there are some clear headwinds coming for all of academia in the next years and decades. While only a few states have shrinking populations right now, many more will in the next decade or two (particularly populations aged 18-22). University attendance rate, and broader favorability of universities, have been decreasing in recent years, which cause their own problems even if the number of potential students remain constant.

The contemporary tenure system hasn’t been around forever (probably less than a century at most institutions) and we should all have always understood that there’s a possibility that the political situation changes in a way that makes it possible to go away.

All of which is not to mention the big uncertainties of what the world of even a decade from now might look like, if for instance AI is as transformative as some think it might be, or a global war breaks out, or something else as unexpected (but predictable) as a global pandemic occurs.

None of these events is particularly likely to occur in a way that threatens tenure for most tenured academics, but they seem like they raise more of a chance of this than anyone in the 1970s or 1980s likely had reason to think.

Monitor
Monitor
Reply to  Anne Newstead
13 days ago

I like most of this but outsiders really don’t have any idea whether (a) there was a financial reason for closing Dianoia (an earlier act) or terminating Finlay’s position and (b) have no idea what representations or promises were made to induce people to leave jobs elsewhere to work at ACU. In doing so, people are unintentionally offering what might seem like adequate legal and/or moral defenses where none exist.

On (a), the change plan protected lines that Steve could occupy so even given the pretty bogus reasons offered for closing Dianoia (the business school expanded as Dianoia burned) they have ZERO to do with the present case. On (b), we know ACU intentionally represented these positions as having the permanence of tenured positions bc the old ads are still up on PhilJobs. You’ll notice that around the time the old administration left, the language representing continuing jobs as having robust protections disappeared. My hunch is that Steve was promised things, too, that the university did not deliver. We cannot rule out that ACU is guilty of breach of contract or misrepresentation.

I am not Steve, as JW can verify. I don’t know the particulars of Steve’s case,but I know enough about this to say that it is not reasonable to assume that this was legally kosher or business as usual. Unfortunately, Steve probably cannot speak publicly to any of this.

Julian
Julian
13 days ago

“It would be nice to be able to report on some good news about ACU in regard to its employees.”

It might be worth noting that ACU has a track record there. The “Institute for Social Justice” was similarly founded in 2014 with great fanfare and lavish funding until it was ignominiously closed in 2018, mere months before the Dianoia was created.

It seems to be the modus operandi at ACU to launch a new prestige department every five years or so, shuttering the old one, and trying something new. One can only guess as to why. Perhaps the new department fails to attract sufficient international student enrolment according to some metric. Or perhaps a new incoming high administrator seeks to create their own prestige department.

This was known to Australians, but their warnings were ignored in the rush of excitement over the lanuch of the Dianoia. Perhaps us philosophers can warn the field that ACU decides to prey on next.

A Non-Australian Philosopher
A Non-Australian Philosopher
Reply to  Julian
12 days ago

“This was known to Australians, but their warnings were ignored in the rush of excitement over the launch of the Dianoia. Perhaps us philosophers can warn the field that ACU decides to prey on next.”

Was this well known to Australian philosophers, who issued the warnings to whom, and who ignored them? I do not believe that any of the philosophers who were recruited to Dianoia by ACU — some of whom I know very well — ever heard any such warnings, much less ignored them. I am not suggesting that you claimed otherwise (you did not). I just wanted to invite you to clarify your comment in case anyone read it as implying otherwise.

Almost Victim
Almost Victim
Reply to  A Non-Australian Philosopher
12 days ago

I interviewed with Dianoia several summers ago and I was warned by several Australians to be wary of ACU. No one told me that the track record meant I should definitely not go there, but they also said that what actually happened wouldn’t be a surprise. I don’t know if the people who accepted positions were similarly warned.

A former Dianoian
A former Dianoian
Reply to  A Non-Australian Philosopher
11 days ago

I am a former employee of Dianoia and I can testify that this was indeed known to philosophers at ACU, both within Dianoia and outside of it. Within Dianoia, there was not much curiosity about the details of this history but it was known that other similar institutes had been abruptly cut, that there were many academics who had been left jobless or underemployed, and that this, together with the plain oddness of a research-only institute springing up at a university of ACU’s type, made the whole project of Dianoia a risky bet. (There was also a very human tendency among Dianoia people to focus on the positive, stay motivated, stay hopeful, and not to dwell on bad things that had happened at ACU in the past.)

Another Former Dianoian
Another Former Dianoian
Reply to  A former Dianoian
11 days ago

As another former Dianoian, it was something I learned about … but only after I’d resigned a job elsewhere and moved to Australia.

Yet another former Dianoian
Yet another former Dianoian
Reply to  Another Former Dianoian
11 days ago

Yet another former Dianioan here. This is something I’m learning about from this thread.

And another former Dianoian
And another former Dianoian
Reply to  Yet another former Dianoian
10 days ago

Also a former Dianoian. I didn’t know about the closure of a previous Institute until nearly the end, and I didn’t know there was any risk to Dianoia at all until after the 2023 AAP – at which point I’d been employed there nearly 3 years. Everyone – Steve, Wayne, John – was at pains to assure me the jobs were secure when I was recruited.

A Non-Australian Philosopher
A Non-Australian Philosopher
Reply to  And another former Dianoian
10 days ago

I am highly confident that no one who was recruited to Dianoia and signed their contract in 2019 or in 2020 received any such warnings. (As I said, I know some of these people very well.) In this sub-thread we have evidence that some departed Dianoia faculty did not learn about the history of institute closures until after they resigned in the wake of the 2023 disaster. If some people who interviewed for Dianoia positions after 2020 were warned by non-Dianoia philosophers, well, good for them. It seems to me very likely that they knew more about the history than the people who were Dianoia faculty at the time did.
 
All of this seems explainable by norms of politeness and the like. You wouldn’t tell your colleague who just moved to your country (possibly with some dependents, and possibly after having resigned from a genuinely tenured position at a far more prestigious institution, as well as having spent almost two years in limbo during the border closure/pandemic) from halfway across the world with a permanent resident visa sponsored by another university in your city that they just made a very bad move that they will never be able to take back — right? At that point it’s too late to warn them, and telling them that they made a bad decision will also serve no purpose, except to make them depressed.

Steve Finlay
Steve Finlay
Reply to  A former Dianoian
6 days ago

I do not believe that “A Former Dianoian” is who they claim to be. Every part of this comment sounds to me like an ACU administrator pretending to be one of my former colleagues in order to undermine us. I challenge this person to prove me wrong. You don’t need to reveal your identity publicly or to me: just identity yourself to Justin or to any of my former colleagues so they can verify you are who you say you are.

Julian
Julian
Reply to  A Non-Australian Philosopher
10 days ago

Like others here, I’d been warned when I told people I’m vying for a job there.

For what it’s worth, I did not mean to be snide or blame anyone who took a job there (I’d have taken it if offered). I meant to express that instead of hoping for “good news about ACU”, the moral thing to do is to spread the bad news far and wide.

Last edited 10 days ago by Julian
Shelley Lynn Tremain
Shelley Lynn Tremain
10 days ago

I wrote a post at BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY in response to this Daily Nous post and the ensuing thread. If you are interested, you can find the post on BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY here: On Another Dianoia Institute Tragedy and “Dire” Circumstances – BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

CONTENT WARNING: Discussion in the BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY post about structural injustice, class, sexual harassment, and ableism.

Monitor
Monitor
Reply to  Shelley Lynn Tremain
10 days ago

“I am especially interested in the circumstances surrounding the Dianoia Institute hirings and firings because I was fired from a “continuing” position at a prestigious Australian university after I went to the union and filed a sexual-harassment grievance. My situation is indeed similar in a number of ways to the fired philosophy faculty of the Dianoia Institute, including to the situation of Stephen Finlay, the latest victim of the ACU’s transgressions: the contractual promises and stipulations made to the former Dianoia Institute faculty are virtually identical with ones made to me/with me; I was “unexpectedly” fired and rendered unemployed; I had given away everything to move to the other side of the world; and I was left in “a dire situation whose timing could hardly [have been] worse.”

Nevertheless, my situation is different from the fired Dianoia faculty in several important ways. I was/am a disabled feminist philosopher of disability while most of the ACU victims are nondisabled white men. I do not have the prestigious social or institutional pedigree that the ACU victims variously have; they went to ACU after resigning from comparably esteemed positions. In other words, they likely had significant bank accounts that they could fall back on or family wealth that they could rely upon until they could variously find alternative employment.

It is likely that all of the ACU victims have, by now, been offered/found substantial employment, including Finlay.”

I was not aware of the terrible and unjust way you were treated by your university. I had no idea.

I’m not sure how useful it is to compare your situation to the Dianoia situation (or how useful it is to compare Steve Finlay’s situation to that of the people who lost their jobs earlier because of a change plan). A few factual points struck me as important to comment on.

You have no idea what financial situations any of the relevant parties face. I can say that some of the people who lost their jobs were losing their first jobs and had no money to fall back on. And while I was not in my first position, I had no money to fall back on because I was supporting people who did not have income. I have no idea what Finlay’s financial situation is. “the contractual promises and stipulations made to the former Dianoia Institute faculty are virtually identical with ones made to me/with me” I have no idea why you’d think this. The contracts for Finlay and the people who lost their jobs initially were radically different. Moreover, the contractual rights (given Australian law) depend upon a contract AND representations used to induce someone to sign a contract. I don’t know what representations were used to induce you to sign a contract, but I know that the representations used to induce some of my colleagues to sign their contracts varied significantly and differed from the ones made to people in other Australian jobs. Moreover, we should not assume that the loss of jobs (in particular cases or in general) were in keeping with the contractual rights of the people who lost their jobs. This is probably true in your case if, as it seems, you were a victim of a kind of adverse action. “It is likely that all of the ACU victims have, by now, been offered/found substantial employment, including Finlay.” Yeah, this is just false. Period. I have no idea what information you’re relying on, but while the people who lost their jobs because of the disestablishment of the institute either have work or have offers of work (but some remain unemployed), this is not true of Finlay who lost his job at a much later date. I really think your blog post should be edited to remove the factual errors. I think they distract from the legitimate points you are making about the profession and it is NOT helpful to spread misinformation about the financial situations of my former colleagues or their employment status.

James Franklin
9 days ago

Those who’ve been following the ACU Dianoia stories may experience a certain Schadenfreude at recent stories in The Australian newspaper which have ACU’s academic leadership in deep trouble. It’s all behind the newspaper’s paywall, but if you google for ACU Yoni Bashan (that’s The Australian’s reporter, who has a Deep Throat feeding him) you’ll get the headlines.

Monitor
Monitor
Reply to  James Franklin
8 days ago

Thanks for drawing this to our attention. The Australian has been running unflattering stories about Zlatko Skrbis recently. They’re behind a paywall, but this is not. An interesting story about Skrbis’s management style from a former colleague:

https://thehousewillwin.com/2024/05/27/21-did-general-mcnarn-order-a-code-red/

According to the author, Skrbis was involved in workplace retaliation against an academic whistleblower in a previous post. I cannot claim something similar happened at ACU, but it was clear that Steve was one of the loudest whistles when it came to publicly objecting to misleading reports used to justify closing Dianoia and exposing the lack of rational justification for spilling all of his colleagues out of their jobs. The VC probably did not love the negative coverage in the press that’s just kicked off again. In the absence of any rationale for summarily ending Steve’s employment, you can guess which hypothesis I find plausible.

James Franklin
Reply to  Monitor
7 days ago

Interesting. Some text from the latest instalmen in today’s Australian:
“Where Skrbis genuinely finds himself on the endangered species list now is with the revelation this week, in this error-strewn and misleading column, that he facilitated a $1m hush-money payment to the Dean of Law, Professor Kate Galloway, to get rid of her just days into her appointment.
And then lied about it.
Skrbis told us through a spokeswoman on Tuesday that Galloway was never removed or dismissed from her role but instead just reassigned into an exciting new position as a “strategic professor”. “Professor Kate Galloway was not dismissed as Dean of Law.
“ While only in the role … for a short time, Professor Galloway quickly demonstrated her integrity and professionalism and this, combined with her proven research record, made her well placed to take up this new strategic role.” Proven research record? We’ll come back to that in a minute. Within days of Galloway’s appointment, just as the university began trumpeting her arrival, Skrbis was unsheathing a pen and writing to the professor, seeking to tear up her contract.
“ACU wishes to explore with you the possibility of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement with you for the termination of that contract,” said the letter, written on January 20, and obtained by Margin Call.
“Please let me reaffirm how sorry I am that circumstances have arisen which have led to the very difficult discussions over the last few days.” …

James Franklin
Reply to  James Franklin
6 days ago

An extraordinary meeting of ACU’s Senate (governing body) is called for Monday. Watch this space.

James Franklin
Reply to  James Franklin
2 days ago

ACU’s council shrugs off concernsThe Australian Catholic University convened a marathon sitting of its governing council and concluded that, yes, all members have been doing a splendid job, irrespective of the external brouhaha.” But it’s also reported that TEQSA, the university sector regulator, is looking into the Galloway payout.