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JCU staff too scared to use their uni email – this is what “academic freedom” looks like

Posted By Jo Nova On June 15, 2018 @ 3:42 pm In Academia,Free Speech,Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Academic Freedom in Australia: Academics are free to use hotmail at work

For the first time in months the ABC suddenly finds time to mention Professor Peter Ridd — but not because he got sacked for an email with the illegal line “for your amusement”.  That new development in academic freedom was not newsworthy on the billion dollar ABC site.  Nor did the-blob’s-ABC feel Australians needed to know that the international outcry over his sacking was so strong that Ridd raised $160,000 in donations in a mere couple of days. However now things are apparently “serious”: other academics at JCU have given up using the official email network, hiding their thoughts on hotmail and gmail instead. Finally, 27 days after he was sacked, the ABC have arrived…

Management of JCU insists Ridd’s sacking was not about academic freedom. But everyone at JCU acts otherwise. Staff at JCU now know exactly how free they are — if they say something the management doesn’t like, they too could be victims of a personalized email trawl. Anyone could lose their job at any time for falling foul of a selectively enforced and unknowable “code of conduct”.

James Cook University staff avoid using emails after climate change sceptic sacked

Peter McCutcheon

A leading Great Barrier Reef researcher says academic staff at James Cook University (JCU) are avoiding using their staff emails in the wake of the sacking of climate change sceptic Peter Ridd. “They’re using G-mail, Hotmail and Yahoo instead,” Jon Brodie from the University’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies told 7.30.

Professor Brodie was the target of some of Peter Ridd’s criticisms, but he still feels the search of the outspoken academic’s emails sends a “terrible signal” to the rest of JCU’s academic staff. “A lot of people will be thinking about what they wrote in email they thought were private to the people they were sent to,” he told 7.30.  “We know already lots of people are now not using the JCU email system, it’s happening now.

“If they wanted, they (JCU) could go back through anybody’s emails and find what they said…”

So they have academic freedom to write emails to colleagues through external email systems. And the public who pay their salaries while they sit at work using hotmail have the right to see none of that. So much for transparency. So much for integrity. Bravo JCU.

As I said at the time: “This taints all research James Cook University puts out. We know all reports will be pre-filtered or self censored.”

If staff don’t even feel they can write freely in an email, we know for sure they won’t put it in a peer reviewed paper.

Give me a reason taxpayers should send one more dollar to this institution.

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