Alice professor on Desert Knowledge CRC blacklist?

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The proposed co-operation between the Desert Knowledge movement and Charles Darwin University (CDU) is off to a rocky start with the apparent boycott of Professor Rolf Gerritsen (pictured at left).
He is the university’s senior and most prominent member in Alice Springs, a frequent public commentator on a range of issues, as the Professorial Research Fellow in the region for the The Northern Institute.
A CDU student, Coll Marshall, who applied to do a Master’s Degree, had requested Prof Gerritsen to be his supervisor.
Mr Marshall also applied for a grant from Desert Knowledge CRC (not Desert Knowledge Australia), now operating as Ninti One Limited, which has a multi million dollar contract from the Federal Government for slaughtering feral camels by shooting them from helicopters.
According to correspondence seen by the Alice Springs News Online, Mr Marshall was told he would not get the grant if Prof Gerritsen were the supervisor.
We put this allegation by email to Professor Murray McGregor (pictured at right) of Curtin University in Perth at noon yesterday (10:30am Perth time).
He is the General Manager Research, Innovation and Quality of Ninti One, managing the Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation (CRC-REP) and the Australian Feral Camel Management Project.
Prof McGregor did not confirm nor deny the allegation but said, in a email at 1:15pm we would need to direct our enquiry to “our communications manager Linda Cooper”.
As he did not provide Ms Cooper’s email address we sent him a request at 2:17pm to forward our email to Ms Cooper.
At 4:12pm, having had no contact from Ms Cooper, we emailed a request for comment to Michael Dockery, Associate Professor at Curtin, who is mentioned in the correspondence of Mr Marshall.
Assoc Prof Dockery (pictured at left) rang soon after, saying that we would need to deal with Ms Cooper. We asked him to forward our emails to her and he said he would do that. We have not heard from Ms Cooper nor from Jan Ferguson, Managing Director of Ninti One, for whom we left a message this morning.
Meanwhile Mr Marshall has decided to stick with Prof Gerritsen as his supervisor and do without the grant from Ninti One.

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One Comment (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Rolf Gerritsen
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Dear Erwin
    I have read your article concerning me being “blackballed” by the CRC REP. The article is not about the real issue in this matter. My exclusion from the CRC is something with which I am entirely happy. Indeed I regard it as a badge of honour.
    Nevertheless, there are two important issues raised by this incident:
    Firstly, in pursuit of their animus against me the management of the CRC denied a student a scholarship unless he agreed not to be supervised by me. So the management of the CRC acted to blackmail a student with the withdrawal of his livelihood. Currently I am supervising two Masters (other than the student in question) and am Principal or Associate Supervisor of eight doctoral students. So the CRC did not act in the way it did because I am an incompetent supervisor.
    Secondly, the issue arises: does the Board of the CRC endorse this management approach? The CRC is funded by the taxpayers and its Board is accountable to the taxpayers, not to the management of the CRC. Does the Board endorse this action by its management to threaten the livelihood of a CDU student?
    These are legitimate questions for the taxpayers and their elected representatives.
    Professor Rolf Gerritsen

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