Monday, September 13, 2010

Brisbane academic burns bible and koran

Queensland University of Technology employee Alex Stewart has taken leave from his non-academic position as a commercial contracts lawyer. The university is investigating the video in which Mr Stewart appears to smoke marijuana rolled in pages from the religious texts, before rating which "burns better". The homemade video was posted on video sharing website YouTube on Friday.

Vice-chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake said that the university does not support the destruction of religious artefacts. "The university is obviously extremely, extremely unhappy and disappointed that this sort of incident should occur," Professor Coaldrake said in Sydney today. "It may have occurred in the individual's private time or on a weekend - it doesn't matter.

P.Z. Myers says: "Professor Coaldrake — you are threatening to fire someone for expression of free speech in an act that violated no laws and did no one any harm."

IMO: I remember when one Sydney University actually insisted on academics clocking in and out at fixed times, and probably junior London tube transport employees, for example, wouldn't have tolerated the abusive methods used. . Fotunately I ran across relatively little of that, but can, for example, recall with regret the dismissal of a colleague who evidently had. Australian academic circles were very much hick places in some cases, but totally crazy in others. Professor Coaldrake presumably has his own stance on how his University should be run. But, as someone who well remembers, for example, other cases like that of important enough philosophy professor S.S. Orr, I am almost sorry for anyone, including Prof. Coaldrake, obliged to work in Australia. Good governance would have improved such matters. I note the video, details here, has now been deleted from P.Z. Myer's site, FWIW.

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