Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The first confrontation at Griffith

Went to the Vice Chancellor's office at Griffith University yesterday, as planned.

Since taking the university to court is out of my reach, the other option is for them to take me to court. The idea was to cause some minor damage to their property which presumably would lead to legal action.

There are precedents, if not in terms of actual intent then certainly as far as the results were concerned.

Last year rioters on Palm Island burned down a police station and damaged other buildings triggering a series of court actions during which the events leading up to the riot were closely examined. In that case it involved the death of an Aboriginal man after he was taken into custody for drunkenness. Still, the scrutiny would not have happened had it not been for the violent aftermath. By the way, all the costs were born by the tax payer.

When it became clear to the Vice Chancellor's personal assistant (the VC was not in at the time) that I was going to scratch one of the computer screens in the foyer she became rather agitated and did her best to persuade me otherwise. There followed some exchange, with the result that I made a compromise.

If Ian O'Connor would assemble a panel consisting of someone who both parties could be satisfied with being objective and qualified to go over the events surrounding the evaluation of the honours thesis we could proceed from there. If such a decision was not made by the following Monday, the 3rd of March, I would return and scratch that screen after all. On that note I left (no doubt to her great relief).

What ridiculous lengths one has to go to. Here is a bunch of people, the examiners, the lecturer who was meant to evaluate the thesis in the first place, the deputy head of the school, and the Vice Chancellor, all of whom should know at least something about that case but refuse to open up. In any other circumstances outside a university the sheer incompetence of the assessment would have given rise to responses in order to set things right. What company, what private or public entity, could allow itself to harbour people whose actions could almost be described as hallucinatory?

Yet here we have an entire body that does its level best not only to escape scrutiny but to safeguard their private stupidity.

It remains to be seen what actually happens at court (I doubt it would come to the assessment by outsiders). Will the judge simply concentrate on the event on that day and leave it at that? Back to square one in other words?

Another question concerns Kevin Rudd, currently our prime minister. Back in August last year, before his election and when still being only my local federal member, his office was approached with the request to shed some light on the affair. Nothing was heard since. Perhaps I should write a follow-up letter.

It is hard to imagine that when someone is especially committed to their studies there follows punishment that destroys their career and continues for years afterwards.

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