Uni chief re­as­sures staff over ‘bul­ly­ing’

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - RICK MOR­TON

Aus­tralian Catholic Univer­sity vice-chan­cel­lor Greg Craven has writ­ten to all his staff to as­sure them allegations of bul­ly­ing, re­search mis­con­duct and ha­rass­ment are be­ing taken se­ri­ously af­ter a se­ries of re­ports.

Pro­fes­sor Craven wrote to em­ploy­ees af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by The Aus­tralian un­cov­ered claims of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour by staff, in­clud­ing at the Mary MacKil­lop In­sti­tute for Health Re­search.

“A num­ber of the ar­ti­cles have sug­gested that the univer­sity failed to act on claims of re­search mis­con­duct, bul­ly­ing and ha­rass­ment. This is en­tirely in­ac­cu­rate,” he writes in the email, ob­tained by The Week­end Aus­tralian.

“All claims re­ceived by the univer­sity are thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated, in line with univer­sity pro­cesses. These cur­rent in­ves­ti­ga­tions have in­cluded re­views by in­de­pen­dent ex­perts and ex­ten­sive as­sess­ments by ex­ter­nal lawyers.”

Pro­fes­sor Craven con­firmed, how­ever, that a let­ter that claimed to be from a se­nior ACU ex­ec­u­tive was re­ceived by Arch­bishop of Mel­bourne De­nis Hart and that it had been dis­cussed.

“This is also with­out sub­stance,” Pro­fes­sor Craven said of the let­ter.

“In fact, Arch­bishop Hart was sent an anony­mous let­ter. The sender of this let­ter merely claimed to have the sta­tus of a mem­ber of the univer­sity’s se­nior ex­ec­u­tive. It is patently ev­i­dent that this was not the case.”

The Aus­tralian has spo­ken to a se­nior staff mem­ber who con­firmed they wrote the let­ter but has asked to re­main anony­mous.

Pro­fes­sor Craven said re­ports the ACU was “gam­ing” the re­search sys­tem to “in­flate” its Ex­cel­lence in Re­search Aus­tralia scores were “en­tirely in­ac­cu­rate”.

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