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MEDIA RELEASE: Murdoch University should spend their money on student services not lawyers, says CAPA

14 Oct 19

Murdoch University should spend their money on student services not lawyers, says CAPA

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) and Murdoch University Postgraduate Student Association (MUPSA) call on Murdoch University to provide better academic, social, and English language support for their international students, instead of suing the staff member who publicly exposed the university’s failure to do so.

Following the Four Corners episode on concerns about academic standards for international students in which Murdoch University Associate Professor Gerd Schroeder-Turk expressed his views, the university has pursued legal action against the professor to seek compensation for their drop in international student enrolments.

We are horrified by the university’s decision to sue one of their own employees for airing their concerns. We agree with the National Tertiary Education Union’s call for the university to drop legal proceedings.

An appropriate university response would have been to immediately investigate academic standards and provide comprehensive, well-resourced support for their students.

“MUPSA condemns the actions of Murdoch University, suing Associate Professor Gerd Schroeder-Turk,” says MUPSA President, Jonovan Van Yken. “Universities should be dedicated to the pursuit of truth and in taking this course of action they are sending the wrong signal, not only to all staff and students at the university, but also to whistleblowers all over the world. This behaviour of attempting to intimidate and silencing staff members from speaking out is not worthy of an academic institution.”

A university’s first priority should always be its students and research, not the bottom line. The Four Corners report raises legitimate concerns, the solution to which lies in Murdoch University funding student adjustment programs, rather than an ill-founded legal case.

A petition has been launched on Change.org (“Justice for Gerd”), currently with close to 2000 signatures, showing strong community support of Gerd’s actions.

“Murdoch University, like many other educational institutions, has failed in its duty of care to international students,” says CAPA National President, Natasha Abrahams. “Rather than blame Associate Professor Schroeder-Turk for a dip in enrolments, the university should look at what they are actually delivering to students.”

END
For comment:
CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams
M: 0430 076 993
E: president@capa.edu.au