Open discussion on the evolution of Australian and New Zealand Thought

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

A Note on the Orr Case

In my short post on Philosophy at Melbourne University I mentioned the Orr case.

By way of background, Sydney Sparkes Orr was appointed as professor of philosophy at the University of Tasmania in 1952. In 1956 he was summarily dismissed on the grounds of misconduct, including allegations of sexual misconduct. From then until near his death in 1966, Professor Orr campaigned for reinstatement.

The Orr case raised great passion because of its linkages to academic freedom. However, I was not aware of the complex institutional background, including Professor Orr's immediately preceding agitation for a Royal Commission into the governance and management of the University of Tasmania.

Those who are interested can find information about the history of the University here written from a perspective sympathetic to Professor Orr. W D Joske's ADB entry on Professor Orr provides a harsher perspective.

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