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Peter Ridd case: JCU appeals for their right to threaten and scare staff and ignore potential fraud

Posted By Jo Nova On May 26, 2020 @ 3:26 am In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Today and tomorrow are the Appeal Days for James Cook University. They sacked Professor Peter Ridd for daring to say that some of our reef expert institutions “could not be trusted” then wasted $600,000 in court defending their work only to lose on every single count. James Cook Uni was ordered to pay $1.2m to Peter Ridd. Judge Vasta was scathing. Yet JCU barrelled on to waste more taxpayer money on an appeal.

Think about how pointless this JCU appeal is — even if they were to win the legal war, they lose the scientific, academic and educational one — they prove that they are not the kind of institute taxpayers should be funding.

Peter Ridd was JCU’s best asset until they sacked him. He helped expose manipulated photos of reef fish by a JCU researcher, Oona Lönnstedt, who had already been caught fabricating data in Sweden, and yet JCU “investigated” and sacked Ridd faster than it investigated her suspicious lionfish shots. Other  JCU researchers claimed that “acidification” would make reef fish act strangely. But, Peter Ridd warned a lot of research could not be replicated, and so it was with the odd fish. In January a new paper tried to repeat eight JCU experiments and every one of them failed. Reef fish will be fine, but JCU’s reputation may never recover.

JCU management have learnt nothing. Since losing the case JCU has changed its employment contracts, not to give their academics the unequivocal right to speak freely, but to make sure they can’t. Enough is enough — all universities need to guarantee free speech in employment contracts or no more government funds.

Every JCU employee’s work is tainted by this. Even the honest ones. We will never know what any JCU researchers really believe, or which results were filed in the bin, no matter what they say, because we know employees of JCU have to hide unfashionable opinions. Staff admitted they were too afraid to use their uni emails. So much for academic freedom. Their quality assurance is terminally flawed. This makes the entire institution useless as a research body, and with standards so low, also useless for teaching. The government could fix this entire embarrassing debacle in five minutes. They just need to withhold JCU funding til the uni gets new management, investigates potential fraud, stops wasting funds in legal battles, and demonstrate that they support free speech — rehire Ridd, sack the VC Sandra Harding AO who earnt was paid $975,000 in 2018, and enshrine free speech in employment contracts.

The IPA has also released a podcast on the whole sorry affair https://ipa.org.au/theheretic

It may be possible to view the lawsuit via videolink but submissions must be in before that date (so it may be too late now unless they accept submissions for tomorrow’s viewing. The relevant information is at Peter’s GoFundMe page.

 It’s easy to stop JCU from behaving like this. Where is Scott Morrison?

When will conservative leaders learn that government funded institutions vote left and the more you pay them, the worse their bias gets?

Education Minister Dan Tehan or PM Scott Morrison could fix this in five minutes. All they have to do is tell JCU they’ll get no more grant money until the institute guarantees free speech and shows accountability for the people who flagrantly wasted over half a million dollars.

JCU grant money is better spent elsewhere. All the research they produce is now tainted and effectively worthless– no matter what any Professor says, everyone knows they are not free to criticize other staff, or procedures, or point out flaws. They’re scared to use their email addresses. We’ll never know what any JCU researcher is holding back.

JCU is the text-book example of what happens when government funding strangles science. The people in charge of JCU’s “science” department — deciding what “the consensus will be” are the administrators, not the academics.

This is not a one off. JCU has a pattern of evicting, blackbanning, and ousting people who disagree with the bureaucrats pet fashions (vale, Bob Carter!). In this culture, more funding means more strangling. So just stop.

Peter Ridd has two GoFundMe accounts. Both have raised their targets and are closed, but have updates there anyone can read.

The Peter Ridd story:

 

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