Gerd Schroder-Turk and academic freedom
The news that Murdoch University is suing one of its own staff, Gerd Schroder-Turk, after he made comments on an ABC program is yet another indication that universities are little more than corporatised accreditation factories whose relationship to knowledge is not framed by truth or critical inquiry but by the generation of capital-where academic freedom has been sacrificed to the university brand. After Schroder-Turk, an associate professor and a member of the Murdoch University Senate, raised concerns on Four Corners about the welfare of international students and the integrity of teaching at the university, Murdoch responded by removing him from the University Senate and suing him for revenue loss after international enrolments dropped. It is the first case of a university pursuing one of its staff members in such an aggressive way-not disciplining or sacking them but essentially going after their life savings. The aim, no doubt, is to intimidate any future critics, possibly older academics who might be prepared to risk the last stages of their career for a matter of principle. If Murdoch is successful in court, then academics risk losing much more.
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