University of New England Professoriate public statement in support of Professor Manuel Graeber

Dear Professor Blackmore,

UNE Professoriate public statement in support of Professor Manuel Graeber

The University of New England Professoriate is alarmed that in August this year, Professor Manuel Graeber was suspended and in October was subsequently dismissed from his employment in what appears to have been retribution for his whistleblowing and challenge to university management. As president of the University of Sydney Association of Professors, and former president of the national Australian Association of University Professors, as well as an eminent academic, Professor Graeber made public interest disclosures of alleged misconduct and corruption at the University of Sydney in 2021 and again in 2023.

If retribution, then it is manifestly a case of wrongful dismissal. It is further possible that the University of Sydney manipulated internal procedures to achieve an outcome to satisfy managerial, but not academic, interests. Especially disturbing is the fact that the University of Sydney has failed to adequately address or refute the concerns raised by Professor Graeber in his public interest disclosures. This suggests malfeasance as well as misfeasance, together with a lack of accountability increasingly typical in Australian universities. The University of Sydney community, including its students and graduates, and the public who fund the University should not tolerate such behaviour. Pressure should be brought to bear on state and federal governments to address where possible the disrepute such action causes the University of Sydney specifically and Australian higher education generally. It is important to note, however, that since Australian universities are autonomous institutions, the Government does not intervene in their day to day operations, corporate policies and procedures. Vice-Chancellor Mark Scott, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Annemarie Jagose, and others involved in the action against Professor Graber, should be challenged to supply evidence and justification for their behaviour, actions, and decisions in this case.

The UNE Professoriate publicly condemn Professor Graeber’s suspension and subsequent dismissal. We support an open and public review of the University processes that led to his dismissal and further support an independent and robust enquiry into the governance and management structures of the University of Sydney.

Professor Thomas A. Fudge
President, UNE Professoriate
Australian Association of University Professors, UNE Chapter

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