SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER! Dean at major Sydney university sends bizarre Grinchy message ahead of Christmas break warning staff about “hedonism”

EXCLUSIVE: Perhaps angling for a starring role as a stingy professor in a b-grade 1980’s college flick, a Dean at a major Sydney university has this week sent a bizarre and pompous departing message to his highly trained staff ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays, warning them to behave themselves amidst the dangers of unbridled “hedonism”. Our publisher, Serkan Ozturk, reports.

For many across the world, the upcoming Christmas and New Year break is a time to be jolly. And in Australia’s case, enjoy some sun and fun in the summertime. It’s a time for loved ones, friends, family and good times. Maybe, even to let your hair down just a little.

But, for the world-leading researchers assembled at the University of NSW’s Faculty of Medicine, it seems like there won’t be too many streamers blazing and champagne corks popping over the next few weeks, with celebrations destined to be definitely muted.

That’s if a leaked message sent by the faculty’s Dean to staff this week and forwarded on to True Crime News Weekly is any guide.

Professor Rodney Phillips is the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of NSW.

According to his official biography, he is “an immunologist specialising in HIV and infectious disease” who has had a “distinguished career” including previous roles at Oxford University.

However, earlier this week, on Tuesday December 11, Professor Phillips decided it was his turn to act the ‘Grinch’ this year and try bring a dampener on Christmas cheer and Yuletide joy.

In a message attached to an email sent to faculty members, Professor Phillips seemingly chides and admonishes his staff to not misbehave over the upcoming holidays, whilst going on a spray against “hedonism”.

“We have now reached that time in the Australian calendar when there is a tendency for hedonism to supersede work in some circles. While I am hardly a wowser, I do believe that this inclination should be tempered by wisdom and above all by consideration of others,” the message from the Dean begins.

“Not all those in modern Australian civil society find carousing and its accoutrements edifying or even wise. I will leave it to your own conscience to decide how you will conduct yourself at this time. However, you should remember that the University has very clear rules around behaviour which must be observed for the good of all.”

“Not all those in modern Australian civil society find carousing and its accoutrements edifying or even wise”: UNSW Dean of Medicine, Professor Rodney Phillips, goes on a pompous spray against “hedonism” while claiming he is not a “wowser” (Image: Supplied)

Having badmouthed the hedonistic ways of his staff, just like in a bad frat-house movie, the Dean then turned his miserly attention to making sure no one would be partying down too much on his watch, in any case.

“Although the rules promulgated by this University allow some expenditure on parties it is my expectation that this Faculty will fall well within the limits set out by Mr Walters who avidly monitors these things,” Professor Phillips stingily wrote.

“The wellbeing of all of us should be an absolute priority for this Faculty.

“We have some cause to celebrate as we have achieved great things this year. But let’s do so safely, with complete respect for your colleagues and indeed for yourself.”

Having admonished his staff for their potentially wayward and frivolous ways, the Dean eventually saw fit to pay them some begrudging credit for their hard work.

Although, the praise seemed a bit rushed and tacked on, judging by the apparent incorrect use of punctuation and grammar.

“May I also thank all those within the Faculty at every level who have worked hard this year? [sic]” Professor Phillips finally wrote at the end of his haughty message.

“2019 will be a most constructive year and one where will [sic] consolidate many initiatives already underway.”

“I am hardly a wowser”: Professor Rodney Phillips, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of NSW (Image: Miles Standish / UNSW)

Curiously, the warning from the Dean to his staff comes as he himself is preparing to vacate his role at the university’s Faculty of Medicine.

A  job ad seeking the Dean’s replacement was posted online this week on December 13 – just two days after Professor Phillips’s bizarre warning to staff.

The job ad itself confirms that “researchers who are among the best in the world” make up many of the members of the Dean’s staff.

“As part of a proactive succession plan, you will succeed Professor Rodney Phillips, to further advance the Faculty’s excellence in research and medical education and its ability to translate discoveries into breakthrough cures, therapies, and treatment strategies,” the online job ad reads.

“The Faculty, home to 6,800 students and 1,350 professional, clinical and academic staff, provides an environment that is conducive to success, producing graduates and supporting researchers who are among the best in the world.

“The successful candidate will have an exceptional track record of research, teaching and leadership. He or she will be committed to the successful delivery of the ambitious UNSW 2025 Strategy and the University achieving a major impact in medicine and health globally.”

The University of NSW in Sydney’s eastern suburbs (Image: UNSW)

True Crime News Weekly contacted the University of NSW as well as Professor Phillips seeking comment about his warning message to his Faculty staff.

We asked the university as to whether staff routinely or significantly misbehaved over the holidays that such a warning about “hedonism” was warranted or necessary.

We as well asked what standards of behaviour should one accept in “modern Australian civil society” if so-called “carousing” is off the table.

We also queried the Dean on why he was keeping such a tight fist over his staff when he was soon departing his position.

Neither Professor Phillips, nor the university, provided a response to our questions.

In any event, True Crime News Weekly would like to wish everyone – particularly our readers as well as all the hard-working university employees across the nation – a safe and happy Christmas and New Year break.

In contrast to the Dean, we hope everybody has plenty of consensual hedonistic fun.



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About Serkan Ozturk 124 Articles
Serkan Ozturk is an investigative journalist and the publisher and editor of True Crime News Weekly. His journalism has previously been featured by the likes of RT News, Sydney Morning Herald and Crikey. He is a member of the MEAA.

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