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‘Circle of silence’ protests over removal of Institute of Koori Education director

NTEU News    |    24 July 2013

wendy brabhamDeakin University Institute of Koorie Education (IKE) staff are staging daily silent protests after the removal of their director, Professor Wendy Brabham, on 15 July.

Brabham a nationally-respected Indigenous academic was suspended by her supervisor in the presence of security guards but was not furnished with an explanation until 23 July, eight days after her suspension.

Each lunchtime staff gather in a circle of silence for up to ten minutes around a tree trunk cut from Professor Brabham’s homeland near Mildura.

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) Victorian Division Secretary, Dr Colin Long, says that

Deakin University has breached its obligations under the collective agreement and disregarded its own policies and procedures. More alarming is the cultural disrespect shown to both Professor Brabham and Indigenous communities.

Brabham has led Indigenous education at Deakin University since 1991, working with communities throughout Australia to develop innovative, community-based educational programs.  The programs incorporate Indigenous cultures and Indigenous knowledge systems within the coursework structures and teaching approaches, as well as supporting the right of Indigenous communities to self-determination and empowerment.

The university says  is extremely proud of the achievements of the Institute of Koorie Education, particularly its community-based education model and will continue to support the Institute and its programs.

Out of respect to those involved, Deakin University cannot comment on this matter, which will continue to be dealt with in accordance with Deakin University enterprise agreement obligations and Deakin’s procedures.

 

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