International student critics crucified by greedy university overlords

Earlier this year, ABC’s Four Corners aired a damning report entitled “cash cows”, which heavily criticised Murdoch University for achieving a 92% surge in international students enrolments between 2017 and 2018 by dropping English language standards and “dumbing down” courses for profit, thereby driving increased incidences of plagiarism, academic misconduct, and rising failure rates.

The ABC’s critique was spearheaded by three whistle-blowing academics, who put their careers at risk by coming forward knowing that they faced possible retribution from Murdoch University.

One of these academics, Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk, is the only staff elected representative to Murdoch University’s governing body, known as the Senate. Dr Schroeder-Turk told Four Corners that he and his fellow staff had raised concerns about international students repeatedly across various committees, but had been continually ignored by the top brass:

ASSOC PROF GERD SHRODER- TURK: I’ve got very serious ethical concerns about the way the practices that we’re applying in the international students’ recruitment space. I’m concerned both about the welfare of the students and the wellbeing of the students, as well as about the academic integrity, or the problems related to academic integrity that result from this…

Admitting students who don’t have the right qualifications, or right prerequisites, or correct language capabilities is setting them up for failure…

Between me and my colleagues, we have raised concerns about these issues in almost all relevant university committees. I can only, at this point in time, assure you that I have raised my concerns in all the forums that I was able to raise them in.

On Friday, we learned that Murdoch University had launched legal action against Dr Schroeder-Turk, pursuing potentially millions of dollars in damages for causing a drop in lucrative international student enrolments. The university has also demanded the names of journalists that spoke to Dr Schröder-Turk:

[Murdoch University is] suing him for damages over his public commentary during the ABC program. The university said he cost the university revenue after a drop in international student enrolments, according to the ABC…

The university has also continued to “press for particulars of the identity of the journalists to whom the statements … were made, and the dates on which those statements were made”, according to a procedural judgment in August.

Murdoch’s legal action has provoked a strong push-back from the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), which has launched an online petition named #IStandWithGerd:

Something is very wrong when a university takes action against a whistle-blower for speaking out about important concerns of staff when they had repeatedly tried to address the issues internally without success. When that person is also the only elected academic member of the governing body and clearly had academic and intellectual freedom rights to do so, it is, and should be, a concern for all who care about our universities.

This is the situation facing Associate Professor Gerd Schroeder-Turk who appeared on ABC’s 4Corners earlier this year, putting his job on the line, for the sake of the welfare of international students and maintaining the academic integrity of the institution. Murdoch University have now sued him personally for damages that could run into millions of dollars that they say has arisen as a result of his appearance on the program (not the ABC, just Gerd). You can watch the ABC story here.

This not the first time that universities around the country have targeted members of Senate and Councils, nor is it the first time that Murdoch has tried to use the courts to silence critics. On each and every occasion we have stood together and protected the target of action.

We ask you now to stand with Gerd Schroeder-Turk. Send this university, and every other university, the message that we will protect whistleblowers and that when they touch one they touch all.

The petition is aimed at new Chancellor Gary Smith, who only took up his role on 8 August 2019. The NTEU also claims that “Murdoch has attempted to remove Gerd from his elected position on the University Senate, effectively silencing the only voice of academic staff in that forum. This is totally unacceptable”.

We wish Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk the very best in his battle with Murdoch University and will watch his case closely. Because if Murdoch wins, it will strongly discourage other academics from coming forward and blowing the whistle on Australia’s international student scandal.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. Universities, once places of free speech and academic freedom, have been taken over by corporate management teams only concerned with brand, profit and fairy floss marketing. Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk is being made an example of. How dare any academic speak in a way that management does not approve of.

    We can know one thing for certain. When a Royal Commission into the corrupt cesspool of tertiary profiteering in Australia is finally called, the people who have sought to attack Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk will be exposed. Their actions and motivations will be thrown into the spotlight along with those who sat and did nothing. Afterwards we will all know who is who and the stinking albatross shall be hung around their necks for all time. They will never be allowed to forget their complicity. No VC or administrator who participated in such shame, or sat passively as it gathered steam, will have a career in academia after that time. They will become pariahs.

    The biggest shame in academia is to betray academic integrity and the expression of ideas. Murdoch has sunk ever lower. Just how low will this university go?

    • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

      Very true Clive – even worse the Corporate profit motive is fusing with the progressive wokester mindset in these institutions and the hybrid species that it has spawned is now spreading out from these institutions into every facet and layer of life in Corporate Australia.

      If you work for yourself then you may not have yet come across it, but if you work in any large corporation, then you would already be very familiar with the approaching threat, a metastasising mind virus spreading its putrefying values of superficial social piousness and backstopped with the neoliberal profit motive above all else.

    • I hope you’re right Clive but for now all I see is vested interests circling the wagons. Instead of showing contrition (however genuine) Murdoch Uni has opted to attack those voicing concerns. The government, meanwhile, understand the tertiary education system is a central plank in their, um, ‘economic policy’, boosting GDP as it does. And the current Labor mob wouldn’t entertain the idea of a RC because it would obviously be raycist (in a roundabout way).

      I just wish the population at large would exhibit some real outrage and get the media invested. It’s the general apathy that gets me.

    • It’s hilarious that this is happening at the same time as all the furore over the Confucius Institute. You don’t need to be from any particular race or culture in order to persecute people for speaking the truth.

      • But if you come from the particular ideological bubble that the Murdoch VC team inhabit there is truth and free speech that some will be permitted (their truth) and then the other brand that will be shut down (people who disagree with them).

        Anyone who thinks that Australia has escaped the lunacy of such double standards of the Left-PC-Identity politics only needs to look to Murdoch. Take a look at the people running it ! They are on an ideological acid trip whilst doing the bidding of the hard Right and profiteering scum of the earth that is selling our kids down the river. Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk has got up their noses as it is this relationship that has been upset. They live with themselves only by using the delusion that they are ideologically superior and anyone who disagrees is a ‘racist’.

  2. This is exactly the thuggish behaviour that allows corruption to flourish. What a sinister mob running Murdoch. On the otherhand, good on those staff with the courage and conviction to expose this rot. Murdoch University is lucky to have them.

    What has happened to our universities? What has happened to Australia? It has to stop. It is time someone with some clout to champion the integrity of our systems and institutions. This case would be an excellent place to start.

    • “What has happened to our universities? What has happened to Australia?”

      Ah, that is a question one should have been asking about 15 years ago. Ah, but we were too busy celebrating surging house prices back then. It is now far too late to change course because the Moron Side of the Force has consumed them in full.

      • It’s worse in WA… post-mining boom there is little meat to eat aside from ripping off international students

    • Here they are:

      The VC is an immigrant who specialises in people with intellectual disability – such as the team on the governing body of Murdoch. If you read her background it is illuminating:

      The stand out on the executive team responsible for the Murdoch mediocrity is:

      I suggest you give old Romy the once over.

      • John Howards Bowling Coach

        Clive I detect there is a prevalence in that linked group to what the late Robin Williams would term ‘women in comfortable shoes’. I wonder if there is a direct correlation to that group and brain dead political correctness. I mostly feel our failed champion of the anti statement, Penny Wong could die of extreme PC. If only she could continue to stop choking herself by the continued recent noises against China. No doubt ‘they’ consider her treasonous against the culture of her own father. But it’s about time she did something good for her host nation, she has done precious little in her overpaid public career before.

        • Good points.

          Malaysian born Penny Wong is anathema and it is kind of funny that her ‘Chinese’ heritage is played for all it is worth as foreign minister material.

          Anyone who works with the mainland Chinese knows that there are several things that are looked down upon with little attempt to hide the contempt (mainland Chinese are about as far from PC as it humanly possible to get). Firstly, to them, Cantonese speaking people are a lower class as are all Chinese who are not Han, Mandarin speaking mainlanders. Secondly, hostility towards gays and women who are not ‘real mothers’ and part of a traditional family (i.e. gays generally) is ill concealed.

          So, here we are in Straylia with the ALP serving us the good oil via Penny, who is in actuality a walking political contradiction.

          On one hand we don’t want to ever criticise China for its poxy values, bigotry, tyranny, fake data and human rights crimes – kowtowing and forelock pulling as a reflex reaction. BUT our one woman Chinese foreign minister in waiting (gay, Malaysian, Cantonese speaking, non traditional mum) is apparently going to be just the tonic for the hardline CCP and the regional city knuckle draggers in China! After presenting Australians as the world’s bigots because of minority identity politics and railing at low brow idiot bigots here, our Penny is going do what in China exactly when confronted with such attitudes on steroids and made into giant concrete statues?

          She’s the wong Chinese profile and in the wong job. She’s carpet bombed Australia with the wong politics and values and isolated herself from the mainstream in Australia as a consequence and pushed away from the shore with mainland China just by being who she is.

          The ALP believe their own delusions – that’s the problem. Penny Wong is smart, no doubt about it. It’s just that she is politically dumb as she can’t generate enough escape velocity from her own ideological fixations. The ALP, like the opportunists in the LNP, don’t have the first clue about what they are dealing with in China. Neither does Penny – her PC blinkers are superglued on.

  3. We will have no whistleblowers in the future. Blow the whistle and you are looking at multiple life sentences or sued for multiple millions. The general population will be apathetic to this as debt is the slavery of the free (ancient Roman proverb). End result is cowboy capitalism and debt serfdom.

  4. Murdoch University has reduced itself to nothing more than a disgraceful bully. What a pathetic and shameful institution.

    The legal case clearly has nothing to do with compensation and all to do with malice and to simply destroy this man financially – a man with the courage to stand up and publicly expose the extent of how cancerous and destructive these institutions and their management have become to society and the education system in Australia.

  5. this crumbling of liberties in Australia has nothing to do with immigration
    in fact the very people speaking up are immigrants who still believe that Australia is liberal democracy

    Australians became submissive because they see themselves not as part of oppressed class but rather as temporarily embarrassed members of the ruling class of multi-millionaires

    • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

      The crumbling of Australia’s liberties is entirely due to the framework that this mass immigration is taking place under. The immigrants may be innocent, just like a hammer used as a blow to the head, but to say that immigration plays no role in the fracturing of Australia’s liberties is entirely incorrect.

      Firstly mass migration provides the financial incentive that stands behind every major form of control fraud being perpetuated on Australian society:

      i) Housing – check
      ii) Wage theft – check
      iii) Fake Uni degrees – check
      iv) Transport tax farms – check

      The ONLY way that the levels of mass migration that we are being subjected to can be maintained at the moment, is by forcing people of foriegn cultures and values onto existing Australian society under the lie of Multiculturalism.

      Multiculturalism and Diversity is the root cause of Australias’ declining levels of trust. It is patient zero in the corruption malaise that this site spends most of its time writing about, yet are too polite or perhaps to cognisant of the risks in stating publicly.

      Ethnic diversity has a negative impact on communities because it erodes trust.

      Studying existing literature and also carrying out a meta-analysis of 1,001 estimates from 87 studies, the researchers concluded, “We find a statistically significant negative relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust across all studies.”

      Eric Kaufmann, Professor of Politics at the Birkbeck University of London, also tweeted about the study, commenting, “Higher diversity *is* significantly associated with lower trust in communities, even when controlling for deprivation.”

      “Diversity is a strength” is a glib, onerous, empty aphorism that is shoved down our throats as a piece of received wisdom that only racysts would deny.

      Corruption, rent seeking and abuse of power definitely existed prior our vibrant multicultural society, but the sense of SHAME and the risk of social ostracism were both powerful social inhibitors to such behaviour – cross the line at your peril and risk a good old fashion ‘tar and Feathering’.

      For SHAME to work as an effective social motivator, requires the belief in the notion of TRUST – if you don’t TRUST someone, you will neither be surprised that they rip you off, nor feel any shame when you return the favour.

      If you want to glimpse Australia’s vibrant multicultural future cast you eye to other such ‘paradises’ South Africa, Brazil and India. A wealthy ‘”white'” class on top, various East Asian technocrats running things beneath them, then a whole slab of Epsilons bringing the Alpha’s and Beta’s their Deliveroo dinners and wiping their butts for them.

      This is the end result of the multicultural meritocracy that we are perusing – a ethnically tiered society, stratified around the innate capabilities of the various population groups that will reside in it.

      They are only able to do so and get away with it thanks to destruction of the national identity that previously existed in Australia and its replacement with the amorphous blob of a Multicultural identity.

      There will be no room for the native born population descended from Colonial Australians, other than to occupy the fringes of society and to ensure the peripheries of Australia, continue to serve the elites in our cities.

      We know this to be true as already Colonial Australian identity is being erased. The pressure to remove all our historical touchstones, such as Australia day. The re-pointing of Australia’s success away from its founding towards the “noble immigrant”…. soon the only achievement that will be left for Colonial Australia is the stain of various atrocities committed against our indigenous.

      Who would want to identify with that when you can have you vibrant Multicultural identity and falafel to go with it instead?

      • John Howards Bowling Coach

        Very well argued indeed Stewie, excellent use of references that are peer reviewed. I presume that you are a true scholar. I tip my baggie green to you sir

  6. “in fact the very people speaking up are immigrants who still believe that Australia is liberal democracy”