A message from the Australian Environment Foundation

James Cook University (JCU) has sacked Peter Ridd, who until then held a chair in geology at JCU.  He remains a highly valued AEF Director and Scientific Adviser.

Peter is determined to fight his termination in court—along with the ‘final censure’ that JCU imposed on him last year—notwithstanding its vastly greater resources.

As Peter’s additional legal costs will further outstrip his personal capacity to fund them, he is again appealing for financial assistance from the public.

Last Friday Peter re-opened the GoFundMe campaign he set up to help with his original legal challenge against last year’s ‘final censure’.  His revised funding target is $260,000 and, at the time of writing, he had already raised $200,000.

Given the importance of the issues raised by Peter’s sacking, I would like to invite you to contribute to Peter’s GoFundMe campaign. Either way, could I ask you to share his campaign with your family and friends—its website page has social media links.

Peter has set up a separate website with all the documentation on the case to allow people to make up their own mind on the issues.  The link to that site is here.

Dr. Ridd’s crime was to break a gag order that JCU had imposed on him. The University had instructed him not to speak to anyone—including his wife!—about the disciplinary action it was taking against him, including last year’s ‘final censure’.

JCU also found that Dr. Ridd broke its order not to “directly or indirectly trivialise, satirise or parody the university” after he sent an email to a former student headlined “for your amusement”. [It would seem that Sandra Harding, the JCU Vice Chancellor, does not understand trivia, satire, or parody, let alone irony.]

The Vice-Chancellor added that Dr. Ridd had “engaged in a pattern of conduct that misrepresents the nature and conduct of the disciplinary process through publi­cations online and in the media”.

“You have repeatedly and knowingly breached your obli­gations to maintain the confidentiality of disciplinary processes,” Professor Harding wrote in a letter to Dr. Ridd. “You have repeatedly and wilfully denigrated the university and your colleagues, and in doing so damaged the reputation of the university.”

The disciplinary action taken by JCU was in response to Dr. Ridd’s criticisms of the quality of the research into the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).

By doing so, the University ignored the fact that scientific criticism is a fundamental part of the scientific process.  This is why such criticism in academia is meant to be protected by academic freedom. Scientific knowledge only reliably advances through vigorous criticism and debate.

Moreover, Dr. Ridd’s specific criticisms of GBR research were completely in line with the growing recognition world-wide that many, if not most, research results in science—including reef science—are an unreliable basis for either private or public decision-making until the results have been widely replicated. This was most recently confirmed by the US National Academy of Scholars.

JCU is effectively seeking to shut down both criticism and debate in science. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that JCU’s motives are quite venal—a desperate attempt to protect the vast ‘rivers of research gold’ that flow from the taxpayer to it, its researchers and their friends.

Update:

 

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40 Responses to A message from the Australian Environment Foundation

  1. NB

    ‘not to “directly or indirectly trivialise, satirise or parody the university” ‘
    Dear oh dear. That is hilarious, given what the university is doing to itself.
    They don’t want competition in the the stand-up arena?
    Everything the uni says from now on is its own parody.

  2. John Constantine

    The whole point of leaky mcleakface bishop signing the Reef over to a united nations committee was to make racist deplorable old Australia open to be crushed by the great transnational looting cartels.

    Their Frankenstabby enabled ponygirl in queensland to crush industrial agriculture, opening up runoff as a weapon of lawfare for the whole of Australia.

    Their save the reef thing is their next big nuclear weapon.

    Comrades.

  3. Rafe

    This could be as big as the Dreyfus affair given the issues and the support that Peter will get from overseas.

  4. Jessie

    Speaking of scholars such as Peter Ridd, and following further from Chris Kenny’s Hindmarsh Bridge weekend article where many of the players have not ever been identified: –

    …………….so may University Deans and Vice-Chancellors cover-up corruption, defame without reason, and unwillingly perhaps, unintentionally even, attempt to destroy all that is good and worthy in the institutions they are empowered to serve. I bear no malice to them. At best they were unimaginative, at worst, weak. And they are human, after all, and administrators to boot. As such they are far too prone to pick expediency — that fatal apple which tempts administrators everywhere. In doing so, however, I hope and believe that they cannot thereby touch Academia. That Academia, itself, is free from any such temptation or sin….
    Yet, what if the judgement is false, based upon expedient lies? Is then an injury done to the academic soul of the true scholar? I think not. And now I know the judgement of me was false……
    If I accept, as I must, the proper judgement of my academic peers, then UWA’s judgement of me, of necessity, is at fault. But the real crime, then, is not what they have done to me. Instead, it lies in the consequences of such an action for academia as a whole. The cynical demeaning of proper academic standards in the name of crass expediency is a far far worse a crime than any unjust dismissal ever could be. Without good faith, academia cannot exist. Without open and free discourse, discussion cannot occur at all. And without the honest application of true academic standards, fairly applied, Academia must suffer a painful death indeed.

    It would seem we must worry that, at least at the University of Western Australia, The Academy itself has been placed on trial. And now it appears that the very people who produced a defective judgement of me, thereby removing me from the stream of academic tradition, may well have control over the outcome of this far more serious matter as well.

    I tried, for the sake of my students and the institution itself, to do what was right. In this, I apparently failed. The Academy, God save it, will need a far more powerful advocate than me.

    David Rindos “Essay”
    Source: http://rindos-anthropology.webapps.buffalo.edu/

  5. rayvic

    By sacking Peter Ridd, a scientist well-known for his professionalism, integrity and climate realism, the climate-alarmist JCU confirms that it seriously lacks professionalism, integrity, and academic freedom.

  6. OneWorldGovernment

    rayvic
    #2715843, posted on May 21, 2018 at 12:00 am

    By sacking Peter Ridd, a scientist well-known for his professionalism, integrity and climate realism, the climate-alarmist JCU confirms that it seriously lacks professionalism, integrity, and academic freedom.

    And should have all funding of ‘the university’, the faculty and students withdrawn.

  7. “But where did all the Gestapo types come from to fill the positions?” queried a very young Winston of the old German army veteran, at his first job.
    “They were always there, Winston. The Nazis just peeled off the scabs to let us see them.”*
    *Just being a bit poetic there, but the conversation did take place along those lines.

  8. I donated to the Ridd fund and I urge you all to do so.
    This is too fvcking important.

  9. None

    While I have contributed I will not be supporting anyone using gofundme in future. That outfit is going to make close to $20000 if he meets target (just because we are Australians – Americans get charged zilch (0) for platform fee) and that’s before credit card companies take a cut and the government takes GST. For doing what? FFS just hand out a bank no. and let people transfer money direct into a trust account for Kidd. Gofundme is an extremely wasteful exercise. So even if the little guy chips in a few dollars most of it gets swallowed up by sharks. Plus those lawyer fees are ridiculous. And advertising them just invites lawyers to maximise their costs. There has to be a better way.

  10. BorisG

    While I have sympathy for this guy, I think anyone who publicly ridicules their employer (justifiably or not) is going to have a hard time. Criticism is one thing, ridicule is quite another.

    who on Cat can honestly say they tried that on their employer?

  11. Tom

    Give us a spell, Boris. You have zero sympathy for Peter Ridd and you don’t give a fuck about scientific standards because what he is doing threatens the enforcement of your lefty tribal religious doctrine.

    The climate scam is a giant industry that sucks around $US2 trillion a year — more than Australia’s GDP — out of the world economy, mostly via its weakest point: government.

    The threat to the Great Barrier Reef is mostly a fantasy because leftist activists at James Cook University and other campuses have been getting away with falsifying data. Peter Ridd is a real scientist who has been attempting to stop that and the university is now behaving like the Gestapo.

    Instead of instinctively reacting to a threat to your lefty tribe, Boris, you need to recognise what’s going on here: billions of dollars of Australian taxpayers’ money are being siphoned off by scientific crooks. It is fraud on a huge scale.

  12. Egor

    Alas GFM’s privacy disclosure seems to indicate they claim the right to collect email addresses from my address book, amongst other things that they could be arrested for if they were stealing and opening my snail mail envelopes. Put up a bank account that I can transfer into and you can have some money.

  13. None

    who on Cat can honestly say they tried that on their employer?

    I don’t have an employer who reads my email and objects to an email subject heading ‘for your amusement’ so I don’t know. I think he has a right to academice freedom and to question the lack of quality assurance and transparency in some of the work that’s coming out of JCU. The latter is a very important part of peer review. I think he will be on very shaky ground on some of the other stuff because these behemoths with HR departments run by fascist menopausal women usually wave around things like codes of conduct which are Beyond The Reach of the law and have these very arbitrary procedures with no accountability no natural justice no evidence nothing. Such things which seem to proliferate in the public sector should be banned or else no same person should even consider employment in one of those gulags. I hope he wins but to be honest I have no faith in our legal system much less in big fat public institutions rum by menopausal feminazis. I feel this will be just money for lawyers.

    This does not bode well for science or for academia more broadly but our universities are really quite sick places at the moment. I was speaking to a well known academic – in the top 3 researchers in his field globally – not so long ago about the situation in a sandstone and what he was telling me was horrifying. Basically most of our universities are now set up to rip off students, rip off taxpayers and line the pockets of the chancellors. It will be very interesting to see what happens when the Asian student boom goes bust and it will as more Asian universities come online with better standards and I have no doubt that the numbers will totally tank if the federal government wasn’t artificially propping them up with this stupid residence visa offer at the end of their studies.

  14. Craig

    Boris,

    Yes, I have ridiculed my CEO in front of hundreds of employees and it was fun watching him wanting to rip my head off but couldn’t. That’s the thing Boris, when people try to pass off bad science or flawed questionnaires designed to encourage bias confirmation, yea, I’ll riducule my employer any day of the week.

    Oh yes, I kept my job as the rest of room joined in as well. And no Boris, you don’t have sympathy for Dr Kidd, you just wish him to be fucked over by JCU and then kicked to the kerb, broke and homeless.

  15. manalive

    who on Cat can honestly say they tried that on their employer?

    Peter Ridd’s employers ultimately were the taxpayers of Australia.
    As Jennifer Marohasy commented on Jo Nova’s site:

    The university really wants to focus on everything except the science. There has been no attempt to dispute Peter Ridd’s core issue, which is the integrity of the data.
    Rather, the university wants to focus on Peter’s conduct. Specifically, the accusations are that he has not been collegial, and not shut-up when told to. Further, he has questioned the findings of some of this colleagues… publicly, on television.
    It is not disputed that he may have good scientific reasons for questioning their methodology. Rather, it is written that he doesn’t have a right to do this… because according to the code of conduct he can’t bring them into disrepute.

  16. Bruce of Newcastle

    JCU has form:

    JCU caves in to badgering and groupthink — blackballs “politically incorrect” Bob Carter (2013)

    So much for “higher” education. James Cook University (JCU) has blackballed Professor Bob Carter, not because of any flaw in his scientific reasoning, but because he speaks outside the permitted doctrine. His views on climate science do not fit with the dominant meme (or the grant applications). And then there were pesky complaints and emails from disgruntled fans of the prophets-of-doom. (Quite a drain on the office.)

    They took his office a while back, then they took the title. Carter was still supervising a student, and another professor hired him for an hour a week with his own budget. It meant Carter could continue supervising and keep his library access. But that wouldn’t do. Professor Jeffrey Loughran blocked that as well. The library pass and the email was shut off on June 21. It takes an active kind of malice to be this petty.

    Again they were “pushed” into doing what they wanted to do once they had the political cover to do it.

    As a university JCU is an abomination, and an insult to the good name of Captain James Cook.

  17. Pete D.

    I seem to remember JCU came to prominence some time back but I can’t remember about what. Maybe it was the initial uproar involving Dr. Ridd. Anyway , Dr. Ridd’s funding campaign has reached $216000 +. Jo Nova also has taken up Dr. Ridd’s case. Mostly the same story and criticism of JCU but is still worth reading for the added observations from other commentators. Some Cats have stated that Dr. Ridd should not have publicly criticized or ridiculed JCU. Seems to me that all he did was ask for proof of statements regarding research. Nothing wrong with that. Looks like JCU has shot itself in the foot because it’s/their actions amount to self-ridicule.

  18. Pete D.

    Well blow me down. As I composed my previous comment, Bruce of Newcastle had posted conformation of the JCU V Bob Carter . Thanks Bruce and yes; “As a university JCU is an abomination, and an insult to the good name of Captain James Cook.”

  19. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    The left aim to win by any means, it’s never about the facts it’s about the outcome: universal poverty.

  20. billie

    The left appear to have no destination, and are in it for the journey.

  21. jjf

    Yet Sydney University has been happy for Jake Lynch to continue on his anti-Israel crusade saying its about academic freedom yet JCU has an issue with Peter Ridd.

    Why do taxpayers fund these jokers?

  22. Snoopy

    In my opinion, that JCU could prosecute Ridd at the same time as this apparent fraud was being exposed shows the complete bankruptcy of JCU as an academic institution.

  23. Roger

    Why do taxpayers fund these jokers?

    Because the government gives us no choice.

    We also fund the C’wealth Education department which allegedly oversees them.

  24. Boambee John

    Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)
    #2715898, posted on May 21, 2018 at 7:32 am
    The left aim to win by any means, it’s never about the facts it’s about the outcome: universal poverty.

    Not entirely universal. The nomenklatura will, of course, have to be adequately compensated for bearing the burden of leadership over us scum.

  25. Garry

    As soon as I encounter anything to do with global warming, cultural diversity, safe schools, gender diversity, equality etc my eyes glaze over and the fun park starts to play in my head. And that’s the problem. A lot of us tend to do this. Meanwhile the relentless left keeps pushing their foul agenda while the rest of us sit around ignoring what us going on!

  26. Des Deskperson

    Hmm. Pardon me, but I’m a bit cautious about this, at least initially at present.

    I have an in principle issue with anyone who criticises their employer in public while continuing to want to take their money.

    In the APS, I came across quite a few people who claimed to be whistle blowers, but the situation was seldom quite so black and white. Some, including some initially feted by the media, turned out to be simply publicity-hungry cranks.

    Please be clear that these are threshold concerns that I would have when approaching any case of whistle blowing, I also fully understand that the parameters for debate and critique are, or ought too be, rather wider in a University than in a government agency or a private business.

    What I would like to know, however, is what steps Professor Ridd took to bring his concerns to the attention of the appropriate people within JCU before he went public, and what their reaction was. I can’t find anything in current reporting – perhaps I haven’t searched enough, for which I apologise in advance – that covers this issue, yet it is not unimportant, since in my experience, one of the tests of a genuine whistle blower – as opposed to a self-promoting obsessive – is the extent to which they pursued the matter internally before they went to the media.

  27. IRFM - also a geologist

    Bob Carter and Peter Kidd belong to that group of independent nasties, geologists. In the practice of their profession they are faced with theory and practice every day of their life from undergraduate onwards. In the practice of their profession they often have to construct geological models only to see them destroyed by the rotary lie detector. This destruction leads to more rigorous modelling and the questioning of scientific input to prepare for the next lie detector onslaught. It is by this method geologists have located numerous ore bodies and oil fields that enables us to lead the comfortable existence of today. Due to the fact that their work is constantly under attack (review?) then it is no wonder they call out others for not wanting to face the same rigour.

  28. JohnA

    Des Deskperson #2716012, posted on May 21, 2018, at 10:23 am

    in my experience, one of the tests of a genuine whistle blower – as opposed to a self-promoting obsessive – is the extent to which they pursued the matter internally before they went to the media.

    Des, have a read of the material from the link to the case documents.

    Professor Ridd has been pursuing quality in science for a long time through all the normal channels: checking stuff himself, writing books and articles and responding to media requests for interviews.

    He was carpeted by JCU in 2016 on exactly the same basis as the present fracas which has led to the Uni sacking him.

    He doesn’t necessarily see himself as a whistle-blower but reluctantly accepts that the label may fit the circumstances.

    My view is that JCU has done this to themselves ie. ” repeatedly and wilfully denigrated the university and [his] colleagues, and in doing so damaged the reputation of the university.” by failing to foster robust debate from all sides and, in fact, JCU should wear the criticism levelled at Prof. Ridd by the Marine Parks Tourist lobby group.

  29. manalive

    Deskpersons naturally stick together.

  30. manalive

    Des Deskperson’s comment looks to me like an attempt to cast doubt on Prof Ridd’s fundraising campaign — but I apologise in advance if it isn’t.

  31. Boris

    usually wave around things like codes of conduct which are Beyond The Reach of the law

    Not quite. Judges have actually thrown away some provisions of university codes of conduct when they were tested in court. Such as automatic ownership of all IP by the uni. See UWA v Gray.

  32. Boris

    I actually agree with the substance of Prof. Ridd’s comments. It appears that concerns over GBR are massively overblown.

  33. Boris

    And when I said that people who ridicule their employer would have a hard time, I did not imply that such hard time is always justified, this is just reality of life.

    Good for those who said they ridiculed their CEO. Good for CEO.

  34. Des Deskperson

    ‘Des Deskperson’s comment looks to me like an attempt to cast doubt on Prof Ridd’s fundraising campaign — but I apologise in advance if it isn’t.’

    Nope, but given my own experience of ‘whistle blowers’ in the APS, I though it important to dig a little deeper. I even offered an apology in advance if I myself hadn’t yet dug deep enough.

    John A’s response above has helped me fill in the gaps.

    I also find it alarming that a University should include, in its code of conduct, a sanction for “not displaying responsibility in respecting the reputations of other colleagues”. If ever there was a threat to debate and critique, this is it. I wander how many of out Unis have the same or similar provisions.

  35. None

    Not quite. Judges have actually thrown away some provisions of university codes of conduct when they were tested in court. Such as automatic ownership of all IP by the uni. See UWA v Gray.

    That’s not quite analogous to this situation Boris. As others have pointed out above the university has completely focused on his behaviour and his refusal to comply with orders. He needs to be careful to fight the actual charges not what he thinks the charges are or should be.
    The ridiculous request not to speak about the sanctions not even to his wife are outrageous but I would not be surprised if there were equally such draconian fascist requests everywhere else in public institutions either academia or the public service. I have absolutely no time for those behemoths none whatsoever. I have seen too many people destroyed by fatuous fascists in HR departments, many of who are just puppets of autocratic and insecure managers and ceos. Not a few marriage breakups could possibly be ascribed to that as well. People should not be surprised at Twitter mobs- they are a reflection of what goes on in nsny other parts of our society especially our public organisations. I wish Professor Ridd well. I hope he stays focused on fighting the actual charges rather than the ideology or some scientific debate because it’s quite obvious from the paperwork the university really does not care about the science, it just cares about being found out that it’s not really doing science.

  36. Rafe

    Des is credible so please no kneejerk reaction.
    Des please update after you have checked.
    Can someone get to the Ridd team with None’s suggestion.

  37. Des Deskperson

    ‘Des please update after you have checked.’

    Rafe, I’m about to fly off to Manchuria, but from what I cam glean from the various links posted here, Ridd did his best to bring the issue to the attention of JCU internally before he went public.

  38. Rafe

    Thanks Des enjoy Manchuria. I will be in Beijing on the weekend on the way to Lower Neutral Bay from Rome

  39. Bush bunny

    I think that some universities do not want independent thought. If I remember that university, was really one of the climate alarmists, and published a so called quiz or research questionnaire attacking climate realists. It was fudged. Questions like, ‘Do you believe in the Yeti,” Was the moon landing faked, and all these silly questions that attributed to skeptics idiocy. I know myself I had problems when my historical research contradicted a senior lecturer and author of a stupid book. I was castigated, and they refused to allow me to present my paper, and my marks floundered for my GCA, I had already a BA. But a DVD soon to be released about this historic mystery, is about to be released internationally. I was correct in my research, ha, ha, ha. No apologies or anything. Just don’t disagree with the universities research or lecturers. But I wish him all the best and there are plenty of universities that would welcome him.

  40. James Hargrave

    In my experience of Krapville TAFE (as a close spectator in three unrelated instances in the same ‘school’), the kind consideration of the Gestapo melds with the competence of the Keystone Cops and a propensity to throw (public) money at lawyers to drive the other party financially and or emotionally into the ground. And this permeates the admin types from top to near bottom.

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