Peter Ridd’s James Cook University “Dramatic Drop in Student Enrolment”

Essay by Eric Worrall

Perhaps a reputation for trampling academic freedom has consequences.

James Cook University to cut 130 jobs to combat dramatic drop in student enrolment

ABC North Qld / By Lily Nothling and Jade Toomey

A North Queensland university is planning to slash 10 per cent of its workforce as student enrolment continues to plummet.

Key points:

  • JCU plans to cut 130 jobs, about a tenth of its workforce 
  • It hopes to claw back millions of dollars lost by a drop in student enrolment
  • The university said more redundancies could be offered in coming years

James Cook University (JCU) has revealed a proposal to cut about 130 jobs from its pool of 1,300 staff at its Townsville and Cairns campuses.

Vice Chancellor Simon Biggs said JCU had experienced a 25 per cent reduction in domestic students in past five years.

He said the job cuts would allow the university to claw back $11 million in salary costs annually.

“Simply put, our student load has been declining for some years and universities in Australia are paid according to the number of students they teach, but our staff load has not declined in the same period,” Professor Biggs said.

Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-16/james-cook-university-job-cuts-amid-falling-enrolment/101444954

The impact on staff;

15 SEP 2022 4:11 PM AEST

James Cook University wants to slash 10 per cent of professional jobs

James Cook University has released a radical proposal which would slash 10 per cent of professional staff positions.

The Change Management Proposal (attached) puts forward cutting 130 out of 1313 professional staff jobs at the university.

The plan would make 78 staff redundant and scrap 52 unfilled positions.

A three-week consultation period closes on Friday 7 October, with a final Change Plan to be released three weeks later on 27 October.

Quotes attributable to NTEU Queensland Secretary, Michael McNally:

“This will be devastating to those people who have found out that their position is proposed to be made redundant. It is likewise devastating to those colleagues who remain behind who face the double whammy of losing friends and colleagues and having to pick up the work that is inevitably left behind.”

Read more: https://www.miragenews.com/james-cook-university-wants-to-slash-10-per-855365/

Why is James Cook University having such problems attracting students?

Part of the reason might be a widespread perception of JCU hostility towards academic freedom. Peter Ridd is not the first academic James Cook University was publicly accused of mistreating. Before Ridd was Bob Carter, a professor emeritus who even had his library pass stripped, apparently because of his climate skepticism.

Peter Ridd’s alleged mistreatment caused such public outrage, a new federal law was passed, to boost protection for academic freedom.

What impact to these high profile public scandals have on student perceptions? If JCU has no hesitation mistreating well known tenured professors, how do they treat junior professors and students who fall afoul of university management? People who do not yet have the stature to draw public attention to their situation? You don’t have to be a climate skeptic, to worry that one day it might be your turn to draw the attention of JCU management.

Perhaps JCU is not as diabolical as I believe – I am not a member of the JCU faculty, nor have I ever been a student there. Perhaps there is another explanation for the drop in enrolments, like difficulties finding a job in fields JCU specialises in teaching.

Whatever the truth, the optics are not good. Alleged mistreatment of professors, falling student numbers, and a new federal law to uphold academic freedom, apparently a direct response to JCU’s behaviour, do nothing to enhance James Cook University’s reputation as a good place to study or work.

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Tom Halla
September 15, 2022 6:08 pm

It could be that treating faculty and students like peasant scum has consequences. Their treatment of Professor Ridd was like the Inquisition, with less due process.

Pete Bonk
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 15, 2022 6:57 pm

It’s been said “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition”.

TonyG
Reply to  Pete Bonk
September 16, 2022 9:25 am

I think that everyone expects the Spanish Inquisition at this point.

But no one expects the Canadian Inquisition.
(well, maybe not before last year)

Bryan A
Reply to  TonyG
September 16, 2022 10:15 am

So, how does their 2015-16 student census compare with the Post Ridd years?

n.n
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 15, 2022 9:28 pm

Social contagion.

Alan M
Reply to  Nick Stokes
September 15, 2022 7:23 pm

Vice Chancellor Simon Biggs said JCU had experienced a 25 per cent reduction in domestic students in past five years.

Just remind me when the impact of COVID on domestic students hit, didn’t realise it was 5 years ago. How time flys

Last edited 17 days ago by Alan M
another ian
Reply to  Alan M
September 15, 2022 10:48 pm

When that excuse ebbs a bit will it be Trump again?

Janice Moore
Reply to  another ian
September 16, 2022 12:50 pm

Yes, yes, 200 million times, yes! 😀

It WILL be “Trump again!”

TRUMP 2024!

Blame, shmame. Go for it. Blame = Power.

Streetcred
Reply to  Nick Stokes
September 15, 2022 8:45 pm

LOL, Nick … they all expanded their campus locations and ‘hollowed out the log’ upstaging one another … students hate on-line as the predominant teach medium … all to the detriment of local students. Their absolutely cr8ppy business models were predominantly international student centric … now they pay the price. The university ‘executives’ failed in their marketing due diligence and risk management and should be fired.

Besides, an ‘university’ education nowadays will likely only provide skills sufficient for a call centre operator or barista. Whereas, a tradesman would be earning a substantial income and virtually guaranteed work.

Last edited 17 days ago by Streetcred
Reply to  Streetcred
September 15, 2022 11:38 pm

Yes, there are many reasons why regional universities have difficulty, and some will be their fault. I think any sympathy for Peter Ridd would be a minuscule factor in keeping students away, in comparison

Derg
Reply to  Nick Stokes
September 16, 2022 2:12 am

We never got your take. Is Mann a fraud in your eyes?

Alan M
Reply to  Nick Stokes
September 16, 2022 7:49 am

Hey Nick have you surveyed them or just making that up like everything else you post here?

Richard Page
Reply to  Nick Stokes
September 16, 2022 8:26 am

Your point would carry more weight if HESA hadn’t already released reports showing that, whilst some universities in the Northern Hemisphere have, indeed, declined in student numbers from 2011 onwards, overall Australia’s universities have continued to grow, up by 48% during the same timeframe. That this university is reversing the trend that other Australian universities are experiencing indicates that there is some other factor at work here.

otsar
Reply to  Nick Stokes
September 16, 2022 11:06 am

He is probably a small visible example of a many larger hidden problems in regional universities that potential students have become aware of. The staff that will become redundant will probably be of non members of the group that caused the problems in the first place.

Lrp
Reply to  Nick Stokes
September 16, 2022 11:50 am

You’re right, it’s not sympathy for Peter Ridd, but having a bad reputation

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Streetcred
September 16, 2022 4:56 am

TAFE and others seem to be doing well to overly full
real jobs training usually.
Melb uni was complaining last weeks that REAL bums on seats lectures were empty as the “students” liked online more and wanted to be “special” that lectures werent “individual enough” this was for a veterinary medical course where in person and class sharing would be THE important feature.
no wonder the young vets we get are damned useless!!! the good older ones I know have stopped taking students for training as well and I can see why.

n.n
Reply to  Nick Stokes
September 15, 2022 9:36 pm

Aside from planned parent/hood; denial of affordable, safe, effective treatments; masked amplification effects; and closeted sequestration schemes (e.g. Vitamin-D deficiency); Covid-19/20/21/22 were diseases with over 99% survival and fitness rates, and social contagion is a forward-looking struggle and first-order forcing of collateral damage that harmed the most obeisant to unearned authority.

Bill Powers
Reply to  n.n
September 16, 2022 8:14 am

My guess is roughly a decade hence, when the ruling class have invented new hobgoblins to menace us with, they will allow the truth to come out, quietly sans media fanfare, that more people actually died as a result of complications from the many vaccine injections than actually died from COVID.

rho
Reply to  Bill Powers
September 16, 2022 7:23 pm

Especially if you add in the ‘don’t treat them until they need hospitalization’ philosophy into the mix as well.

Reply to  Bill Powers
September 18, 2022 9:10 am

In past years, cause of death following infection with a respiratory disease would have been the morbid condition.

Here’s an analysis I did in 2021 December, based upon the fact that 95% of US “covid deaths” involved at least one (average four) co-morbidity.

The death rate adjusted for co-morbidties shows that the mRNA jabs killed more Americans (prior to December 2021) than did Covid-19 itself.

Covid mRNA Deaths.png
Gary Pearse
Reply to  Nick Stokes
September 16, 2022 11:32 pm

More recently, retractions of tech papers and charges of professional misconduct for a high profile Great Barrier Reef researcher and her supervising JCU prof co-author after complaints by Norwegian researchers, came too late to help Peter Ridd’s wrongful dismissal
suit for criticizing Reef research at JCU. The disgraced researcher is now at U of Delaware, awaiting possible dismissal. A number of papers by this lady and her prof are highly suspect.

I say late to be of help to Dr. Ridd because of the surprisingly similar complaints leveled by Ridd and the Norwegians. Sloppy research, conclusions not supported by the data, etc. The Norwegians showed that the nature of claimed data gathered could not have been collected in the short period of time stated, that the data was recorded poorly with a lot of mysterious “copy and pasting” of blocks of data into Excel files.

Maybe this sort of thing also doesn’t help support a good reputation for JCU. Interesting to see if this puts JCU under more scrutiny. Also, might there be some selected layoffs of potentially embarrassing personnel of this kind?

Stu
September 15, 2022 6:23 pm

Was that law passed or just proposed?

RickWill
Reply to  Stu
September 15, 2022 7:26 pm

Passed in March 2021. A number of points added to the existing act covering higher education defining academic freedom of speech. Including this one:

the freedom of academic staff and students to express their opinions in relation to the higher education provider in which they work or are enrolled

eo
September 15, 2022 6:25 pm

What me worry ?

The Vice Chancellor of JCU just got a big salary increase obvious for very high performance. Just got a 79,000 increase to 729,000. Just google Vice chancellor JCU salary.

With the new federal law on academic freedom, is this not just another smoke screen to get rid of staff with similar views as Prof Peter Ridd ?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  eo
September 16, 2022 6:02 am

“Just got a 79,000 increase to 729,000.”

That’s more than Dr. Fauci makes!

Fran
Reply to  Tom Abbott
September 16, 2022 10:11 am

Fauci has other sources of income.

Steve Case
September 15, 2022 6:29 pm

James Cook University to cut 130 jobs …
_________________________________

It won’t be any hard liners.

James Cook U will only get leaner and meaner.

Scissor
Reply to  Steve Case
September 15, 2022 6:38 pm

Perhaps even dumb and dumber.

observa
Reply to  Steve Case
September 15, 2022 7:51 pm

More leaners and grifters than lifters and gifters.
And change the name from James Cook to John Cook in keeping with your ethos shucksters.

toorightmate
Reply to  observa
September 15, 2022 9:35 pm

You mean the 97% shyster John Cook, I presume?

ozspeaksup
Reply to  toorightmate
September 16, 2022 4:59 am

cRook
the R is silent;-)))

toorightmate
Reply to  Steve Case
September 15, 2022 9:34 pm

They could not possibly become meaner than they were to Bob Carter and Peter Ridd. Their crucifixion of academic freedom has been unforgiveable.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Steve Case
September 16, 2022 4:58 am

and really only 70+ actual jobs got canned the rest were mighta been jobs unfilled as yet

MarkH
September 15, 2022 6:38 pm

” to combat dramatic drop in student enrolment”

I’m not sure that headline makes sense. You don’t combat a drop in enrollment by firing 10% of your workforce, that’s more of a response to a drop in enrollment. You could combat a drop in enrollment with an advertising campaign, or by reforming your academic standards such that prospective students would feel that it was a worthy institution to invest several years of their young lives in attending. I suppose it is the ABC, so you can’t expect too much, like understanding the meaning of words.

Charles
Reply to  MarkH
September 16, 2022 6:55 am

Yes, words are important only if they have meaning.

Reply to  MarkH
September 17, 2022 3:16 am

“Combat” reveals that the real mission of universities is not “gain students” but “make money.” They are combating the loss of revenue, I suppose.

Bob Hunter
September 15, 2022 6:56 pm

A friend is on staff at one of the major universities in Australia. I think it was 7 years ago the new vice chancellor told the staff, paraphrasing “For many of you, I am giving you 2 years warning, start publishing or I am going to increase the # of courses you will be required to teach”

Streetcred
Reply to  Bob Hunter
September 15, 2022 8:51 pm

Indeed, my wife was one of them. How they maneuvered around that threat was to establish research publishing groups and pass around the load with all of them as authors.

Duker
Reply to  Streetcred
September 16, 2022 1:19 am

Oh . So that is how they do it. Another way is to split the research output into multiple papers with only small variations in the data used , or even different computer simulations

Fran
Reply to  Duker
September 16, 2022 10:15 am

Is is called “rat pellet” publication – ever seen a rat wandering around dropping pellets behind as it goes?

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Duker
September 16, 2022 11:10 am

Many journals guard against those.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
September 16, 2022 2:24 pm

Ed,
I’m sure you’re right.
Do they all guard against those??

Some might doubt that.

Auto

Duker
Reply to  Auto
September 16, 2022 7:00 pm

Harvard Nurses study is a well known ‘paper mill’

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Bob Hunter
September 16, 2022 1:23 am

If they want an easy way to get any old junk paper published they just have to mention climate change and it’s instantly sailed through peer review and straight to publication
e.g. “In our study of the decline in manufacturing of boiled sweets we find the underlying cause is that the increasing heat due to climate change causes people to feel too hot to suck a sweet”

Redge
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
September 16, 2022 1:52 am

You could get a few million dollars grant for that research

Duker
Reply to  Redge
September 16, 2022 7:04 pm

Too late, theyll be onto it
Life is sweet: candy consumption and longevityhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC28747/

Tom Foley
September 15, 2022 7:14 pm

To assess the decline in enrolments at JCU, it would be useful to have the following information:

  1. How does JCU compare with other Australian universities? Is the decline in enrolments worse, better or average?
  2. Is the decline in overseas students, Australian students or both?
  3. Australia-wide, which are losing more students: rural city universities, or capital city universities?
  4. Is the decline at JCU across all degrees and subjects, or concentrated in some?
  5. Does the lack of job opportunities in some fields affect all universities similarly, or is JCU different?
  6. Are the job cuts in the same order as those in other universities over the last few years?
  7. Is JCU cutting staff this year because they did not do so as radically as other universities in 2020-21 (see Prof Briggs’s statement above)?
commieBob
Reply to  Tom Foley
September 15, 2022 8:17 pm

Good questions. A few minutes of web searching could answer many of them. Then you could frame a cogent argument and we’d all be better off.

Reply to  Tom Foley
September 15, 2022 10:51 pm

I think #2 is already answered – at least, if you assume that “domestic” means “Australian.”

One thing I haven’t seen brought up is smaller generations, especially among the upper and upper middle classes that would supply most of those students. Or is Australia not experiencing the same demographic collapse as other First World nations?

ozspeaksup
Reply to  writing observer
September 16, 2022 5:01 am

same demo collapse here too
talk of needing 180k immigrant
wont that be fun? shortage of homes medical and transport schools childcare already

John Hultquist
Reply to  writing observer
September 16, 2022 12:52 pm

The population pyramid for AU does show a diminished set of cohorts.
This doesn’t carve out “upper and upper middle” groups. also, data is for 2019.
Population of WORLD 2019 – PopulationPyramid.net

markl
September 15, 2022 7:16 pm

Probably has nothing to do with Ridd and more with the economy. Not that it’s a bad thing. Useless degrees (debatable) are exactly that.

commieBob
Reply to  markl
September 15, 2022 8:33 pm

A quick web search leads me to believe that JCU is in significantly worse shape than most. I doubt that most students would be put off by Ridd’s case per se. As far as I can tell, that isn’t the only knock against the school. The student reviews provide some clues. LOL

Duker
Reply to  commieBob
September 16, 2022 1:21 am

Good catch ..like this review
“As an experienced student and teacher I found that JCU had the lowest standard of teaching I’ve experienced. The course seemed to be thrown together with as little effort possible. A complete waste of time and money. Notes from one subject looked like they were from the eighties, poorly set out and riddled with mistakes. Another subject consisted of only badly made PowerPoint”

Oldseadog
Reply to  commieBob
September 16, 2022 2:35 am

According to those reviews the place should be shut down. Maybe then Peter Ridd could take it over and start a new one of his own.

Duker
Reply to  Oldseadog
September 16, 2022 7:09 pm

Its federally funded so will continue, no matter what.
Peters legacy is now the law which forces the federally funded universities to adopt the new free speech code.

H.R.
September 15, 2022 7:27 pm

James Cook University (JCU) has revealed a proposal to cut about 130 jobs from its pool of 1,300 staff at its Townsville and Cairns campuses.

Vice Chancellor Simon Biggs said JCU had experienced a 25 per cent reduction in domestic students in past five years.


Hmmm… a 25% drop in students and only a 10% cut in staff.

How many winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics has JCU produced? Just askin’.

Streetcred
Reply to  H.R.
September 15, 2022 8:53 pm

They’ve been trimming staff for many years as they progress to more on-line courses. You don’t need academics for on-line teaching, just a ‘talking head’ to read the script.

Last edited 17 days ago by Streetcred
H.R.
Reply to  Streetcred
September 16, 2022 4:37 am

Thanks, Streetcred. I did my schooling before calculators were in use, let alone online courses. Online classes never occurred to me. You’ve already got me thinking about what that would entail from a lecturer’s standpoint.

But then I’m still inclined to go with the “abusive” or “intolerable” administration explanation. Why are there 52 unfilled positions that will be part of the 130 positions cut? Does anyone want to teach there? Maybe if you’re teaching online classes, they don’t pay squat. I dunno.

I had a couple of friends who each taught a class at the local university as Adjunct Professors, which means “We pay you less than you’d make as waitstaff at a restaurant, but you get to tell everyone you are a professor.” Yup, it was just some moonlighting money for one of my friends and the other one liked their field and the topic and enjoyed passing on the knowledge. So he said. Or maybe he just liked hanging out with the coeds. 😉

Richard Page
Reply to  H.R.
September 16, 2022 8:33 am

A married former friend taught some classes in computing at a local university under a similar scheme. He was overjoyed at the thought of being surrounded by young, impressionable female students.

H.R.
Reply to  Richard Page
September 16, 2022 11:48 am

Are you sure that’s not a formerly married friend, Richard? 😉

Richard Page
Reply to  H.R.
September 16, 2022 5:45 pm

Should be but I think his wife lives in blissful ignorance.

Joe Shaw
Reply to  H.R.
September 16, 2022 6:06 pm

I had Adjunct Professors for about half my MS courses at George Mason University in the mid 2000s. All of the Adjuncts were practitioners who were active in their fields (Ops Research, Systems Engineering, or Computer Sci). I don’t know exactly what they were making. No doubt less than tenure track Professors, but I spoke to several who seemed quite happy to be teaching to make some extra cash for relatively little extra work – with no obligation to publish.

H.R.
Reply to  Joe Shaw
September 16, 2022 6:25 pm

“No obligation to publish.”

I can see where that might be attractive to some, Joe. Still, what’s up with the 52 unfilled positions and why were they open? Did 52 people up and quit? I dunno.


At my university, we had Adjunct Professors, Associate Professors, and Professors, who were the full Monty with tenure, excellent pay, and all the other perks.

I the Associate Professors. They had to publish like mad and bring in the grant money in hopes of gaining tenure.

I have no clue what the Adjuncts were paid. The two I knew that I mentioned above taught at a small local college and not at the university I attended. I know my acquaintances weren’t paid diddly squat.

Howard Dewhirst
September 15, 2022 7:31 pm

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving mob

commieBob
September 15, 2022 7:54 pm

Get woke go broke.

There is also Evergreen College in Washington State USA. link

The inmates are running the asylum at Evergreen, enrollment has been dropping for the last five years. They can’t hire a president because no competent person wants to wreck their career by working there. Graduates are now hiding the fact that they went there. It seems that the private sector won’t hire Evergreen grads.

Would you hire someone whose education is crap and looks on you as an oppressor who needs to be cut off at the knees?

Graemethecat
Reply to  commieBob
September 16, 2022 2:25 am

The estimable Bret Weinstein taught Biology there until he was hounded out by a mob of hysterical Leftist students after he refused to grovel to their demands.

Bob
September 15, 2022 8:05 pm

This is unfortunate but they should have started at the top. Seeing your bosses and leadership canned would be one heck of an incentive to run a proper outfit to those who move up, and any new blood brought in.

Gary
September 15, 2022 8:08 pm

So they lost 25% of their students, but only cut 10% of the staff? I wonder what the ratio of administrators to professors was?

Mr.
Reply to  Gary
September 15, 2022 8:45 pm

C’mon man – that’s a math test

They don’t do those kinds of things any more at schools or universities.

M Courtney
Reply to  Gary
September 17, 2022 12:42 am

25% of their domestic students. Not all students.
And not all activities of a university are directly related to teaching.

Damon
September 15, 2022 8:31 pm

John Cook versus James Cook. The triumph of ideology.

Craig from Oz
September 15, 2022 8:36 pm

So… universities are starting to realise they are a business and are subject to market forces the same as everyone else?

In much the same way that the media has constantly told us that only the media can regular the media, Academia has for constantly told us that only by taking part in academia can you be qualified to discuss academia.

They become criticism free zones that are important to society because they tell us they are important.

‘Experts say’ and ‘a new study’ were once enough to cause us little people to nod to their betters and accept the directions from above.

Problem for these established institutions is were are moving – for better or worse – into the post-expert ‘Y-pert Era’ where much of the lower level knowledge is freely available for open discussion in the horizontal internet based group model. True, for the hard professionals (Engineering, Medicine… and Engineer…) you still need to prove your skills. Time spent watching youtube and chatting in forums is not going to compare with decades of hands on experience. No one is going to let you sign off on a major project just because you subscribe to channels with over a million followers.

However for the lower level there is often little reason to follow the traditional experts. Want to brush up on your history? Then get online and brush away. Want to become an intersectional feminist? TicTok welcomes you.

Knowledge is no longer a purely vertical model. Why give yourself a massive student debt over things you can simply download?

The prime function in society of the modern university has for years been to keep the unemployable out of the crowded young adult job market. Unis need to accept that and manage their business models to suit.

Streetcred
September 15, 2022 8:39 pm

They have a screwed up business model … like most Australian universities they are all more enamored with building architectural edifices for their legacies than dealing with education. Australian universities were not created to service international student in the main but the lure of big $$ and huge bonuses for the ‘executives’ was too much for them to ignore. It doesn’t matter how many staff they cut, they still have to deal with enormous asset maintenance costs … with or without students.

The answer probably lies in better experienced staff, better staff to student ratios, no on-line lectures and encouraging a traditional student culture.

Dennis
September 15, 2022 9:17 pm

Go woke, go broke

Last edited 17 days ago by Dennis
Alasdair
September 15, 2022 9:29 pm

Academia has been trashing its reputation for years now. The number of crap papers getting published is amazing.

Voltron
September 16, 2022 12:07 am

Its not really that sinister.

Essentially JCU has always been a reactive organisation and slow to modernise. The IT systems have been held together by band aids and dedicated cults of personality for decades. The identity management software has been unchanged for 20 years, for example. The main online learning platform has also been a staple for 20 years, albeit slowly improving in the past few.

For a good forty years, it sailed along as being the only ‘large’ University in the northern area of Australia and right next door to the Barrier Reef. No competition, just lots of young international students wanting to become marine biologists. Locally, if Mum and Dad wanted to send their kids to Uni, JCU was the place to go which was more convenient than packing up for Brisbane. They had a captive audience which has led to historical largesse and waste. The ex vice chancellor sucked up $900,000pa for every year of her tenure as an example.

Suddenly a few years ago, places like Central QLD University opened a remote campus in Townsville, and all of a sudden ONLINE learning started becoming a thing (shock, horror!). It meant effeciencies had to be found somehow.

To actually visit the campus, there is some modernisation thanks to govt grants, but also dead buildings, condemned buildings full of asbestos and mold, tired facilities and the ever present fawning for grant money to keep the whole thing afloat.

Given so much choice for online learning now, the younger generation are finding a freedom otherwise unknown. If you had a choice to study law at Bond, say, or grotty old JCU, which one would you take?

Most of the students and staff have little concern for the academic shenanigans, in my opinion. The cool kids are simply taking their money elsewhere due to fashion and the perception of higher quality credentials from other teritary learning centres.

I’d say its the medicine students income that keeps the whole thing afloat.

Fred
September 16, 2022 12:45 am

Peter is a hero…I’ve heard him speak several times on the state of the Reef and on academic freedom and academic integrity. I’ve contributed to his legal defence fund and supported him during his High Court hearing in Canberra. He was right, JCU was horribly wrong. JCU is getting what it so richly deserves…I hope they go bankrupt.

greensanf
September 16, 2022 1:03 am

Maybe kids are learning its better to earn a dollar than to owe one?

Joao Martins
September 16, 2022 2:57 am

Peter Ridd’s James Cook University “Dramatic Drop in Student Enrolment” “It is the market working, my friends. Consumers are free to choose, so they avoid lesser quality products…

Sean
September 16, 2022 3:33 am

I wonder what the ratio of faculty to administrator layoff is going to be? I suspect if they decide the administrators are more important, this may be only the first round.

StephenP
September 16, 2022 3:40 am

Which university or organisation got the ?450 million dollar grant to research the Great Barrier Reef?
What are they doing with it and who are the beneficiaries?
IIRC the GBR is at its healthiest for years, so how can the spending of such a large sum be justified?
Or is it a job creation scheme for redundant James Cook University employees?

Harves
September 16, 2022 5:44 am

Clearly maths isn’t their strong point or they’d realise that getting rid of 52 unfilled positions won’t save them a cent.

On the Outer Barcoo
September 16, 2022 6:52 am

Bob was yet another distinguished scientist to discover how merciless and petty the Big Climate enforcers can be when you cross them. A third of a century at James Cook University ended with them taking away his office, his unpaid adjunct professorship, and eventually his email address and library card. JCU’s subsequent treatment of Peter Ridd has been utterly deplorable.

September 16, 2022 8:34 am

These days a uni degree means nothing more than you have 4 years of Marxist training in political correctness.

ResourceGuy
September 16, 2022 9:14 am

I guess there are limits to demand for careers in agenda science and abusive labor practices in a hostile administrative environment.

Fran
September 16, 2022 10:06 am

I’m just glad I could retire from McGill U in 2012 when the wokeness was getting into an exponential phase.

Javier
September 16, 2022 1:33 pm

Not to step on any toes, but if JCU was experiencing a shortage of students for years it is reasonable to think that Peter Ridd singled himself for culling with his unorthodox and controversial views. He was an easy target in the current environment. Not that I agree with that, but it would not make sense to fire first all the ones that agree with the consensus.

Mr.
Reply to  Javier
September 16, 2022 4:17 pm

Sense and university governance being applied at the same place, same time?

When has that ever happened?

September 16, 2022 4:11 pm

James Cook deserved to get a better university named after him than this one.

Geoff Sherrington
September 16, 2022 4:23 pm

It was 1963 IIRC, that I enrolled in the Queensland University College at Townsville, joining the first group of students at this new college. It later became James Cook University. I was in the Science faculty.
In those days, I cannot recall any students being involved in social issues. It was a matter that a lot of work had to be done, so we pitched in. Second year undergrads like us volunteered to tutor first year, no fees. We were friends with our lecturers, all of mine were guests at our 1964 wedding. We mourned the loss of Jim Power, chemistry lecturer in a light plane crash. We did not know or want to know that there were exalted positions like Vice Chancellor except for their signatures on our graduation certificates.
My classic standards, we did not receive top quality degrees like Oxford grads like to skite about. Our emphasis was about the Scientific Method, honesty, attention to detail, the importance of replication and an inquiring mind. Challenge the dominant wisdom of the day, with careful evidence.
It seems that a change of some importance overtook the top of the pile at JCU. The treatments of Professors Robert Carter and Peter Ridd at the hands of people with administrative bent (but with questionable scientific ability, to judge) have been widely criticized.
Townsville was always a big country town with slow growing population. I was surprised by the experiment to create a university there. The region did not have a history of intellectual contributions.
It was not even red brick, more fibro sheet.
Sadly, its administrators have not advanced it’s stature.
Geoff S

Tombstone Gabby
September 16, 2022 5:22 pm

People who do not yet have the stature to draw public attention to their situation?”

Some of those released will probably have some interesting tales to tell.

Clay Sanborn
September 16, 2022 9:55 pm

It’s due to Global Warming….

It doesn't add up...
September 17, 2022 4:05 am

Time for some research on the change of climate in university education?

97% of students agree.

Tom
September 17, 2022 5:26 am

Using a simple projection common in the CAGW community, when the student population drops to ZERO, there will still be 60% or the administration requiring pay!

John Kelly
September 18, 2022 7:47 am

I live in Cairns and my kids will not go to this so-called university and my mates kids are the same. Its local reputation is garbage.

Cameron
September 20, 2022 10:47 pm

I really doubt it’s about the Ridd situation, there may be some who wouldn’t go there because of that, but the lack of mainstream media coverage of that situation tells me most students wouldn’t have a clue about it (without actually looking into it). There has however been significant advances (outside of JCU) around online courses. I myself live 3 hours from the JCU Townsville campus (1.5h from their Cairns campus) but am enrolled at a Uni 26 hours away because it’s easier. JCU are stuck in the past, their online offerings are pathetic and no school leaver old wants to leave home anymore, it’s just too expensive.
On top of that, they really do have a focus on overseas students, and if the tourist market is anything to go by, overseas people don’t want anything to do with Australia at the moment.
Additionally, if it was due to the treatment of faculty, wouldn’t they be scrambling for faculty members, rather than having to let them go?

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