The University of Sydney has issued a “show cause” letter to academic Jake Lynch, threatening him with disciplinary action over his conduct at a public lecture last month, it was reported in today’s Australian newspaper.
Associate Professor Lynch made gestures and statements towards a Jewish woman at the event which is claimed were anti-Semitic, a claim Professor Lynch vigorously denies.
The woman in question told The Australian yesterday that while she could not know what was in Professor Lynch’s mind, she found his action in waving a $5 note in front of her face and threatening that she would lose a lot of money in a lawsuit consistent with the sort of anti-Jewish remarks she endured as a child at school in England.
No doubt now the Leftist hordes from the field of academia will rally in support. He is seen as some kind of a hero for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against Israel. This in itself is antisemitic and is a call for the end of Israel. See the ECAJ website
The “show cause” letters allege breaches of university rules by a number of people at the melee in which students, one using a megaphone, shouted and chanted pro-Palestinian slogans as retired British colonel Richard Kemp, a vocal defender of the Israeli Defence Force, was giving his talk.
In a statement yesterday, the university said it had issued letters to 13 people as a result of an investigation launched by vice-chancellor Michael Spence which followed dozens of complaints against Professor Lynch, the protesting students, the security guards who manhandled the protesters as Professor Lynch urged the guards to stop, and members of the public, including one who has admitted throwing water at the protesters, Jewish semi-retired English literature lecturer Diane Barkas.
The Australian says that no names were released, but it established that the staff member is Professor Lynch, and the contractors are security guards.
Professor Lynch could not be reached for comment last night, but earlier this week he said that if he received a letter “it will be an outrageous attack on his intellectual freedom”.
“Nothing in my conduct at the Kemp lecture would make such a response make sense except in context of the witch-hunt led by the pro-Israel lobby and its right-wing political allies.”
The USYD publication Honit Soit posted an article “Questions Raised Over Kemp Investigation”
Honi Soit has seen an email sent in March to individuals present at the protest by Jane Wright, principal of the firm Workdynamic Australia. In the emails, Wright tells the recipients that her firm had been “engaged to conduct an investigation into incidents” and invites them to attend a “voluntary” interview. Several people who attended those interviews allege that Wright identified herself as a representative of Workdynamic throughout.
Both Workdynamic and Wright have a longstanding relationship with the university. A university spokesperson told Honi that Workdynamic “is on retainer to the University to provide legal advice in matters such as the one currently under review,” an arrangement the the spokesperson described as “standard practice”. Wright is listed as a staff member on the Office of General Counsel website and has a university email address and phone number which are listed in the university’s staff directory. The spokesperson told Honi this was to “facilitate communication” with Wright, after Workdynamic was retained to provide “additional support”.
Honi further understands that Wright was tasked with investigating the protest against Foreign Minister Julie Bishop last year, and that she identified herself as a lawyer from the Office of General Counsel while conducting at least one interview regarding that incident. Honi has also seen emails sent by Wright at the time, which identify her as a university solicitor. It remains unclear why similar procedures were not followed in this instance.
So it would appear that the external investigation several people thought they were engaged in was, in fact, conducted by a firm with close ties to the University. This is a concern for some, who feel the university’s approach to the protest, and its aftermath, has been one-sided from the start, particularly in light an email sent to all students by the Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence in March titled “Concerns about anti-Semitism on campus” which made direct reference to the protest.