University of Sydney suspends racist professor

SRC president-elect Kyol Blakeney speaking at the rally. Photo: Peter Boyle.

University of Sydney professor Barry Spurr has been suspended following a protest at the university on October 17.

Students and staff rallied to express their disgust over reports from New Matilda the professor had vilified minority groups in emails to his colleagues by using terms such as “abos, mussies, chinky-poos” and referred to a woman as a “worthless slut”.

In an email to students, University of Sydney Vice Chancellor Michael Spence announced that “Professor Spurr is suspended effectively, from teaching and engaging in any other University of Sydney business and is precluded from attending any University campus, while the matter is investigated and dealt with an accordance with the University’s Enterprise Agreement.”

There is no indication about whether Spurr will be able to return to teaching on campus following the investigation.

The snap action rally at the University of Sydney was organised by the Student Representative Council and was attended by about 100 students and staff.

Several speeches were given by SRC education officer Ridah Hassan, NSW Greens candidate for Newtown Jenny Leong, SRC president-elect Kyol Blakeney, Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association international students officer Damian Ridgwell, and undergraduate Fellow of Senate Patrick Massarani.

The speakers condemned the actions of Spurr. Hassan said: “These words have no place in our university … in our country.”

Blakeney said: “This Professor is a professional at a university that claims to be one of the most progressive universities in the country.”

Spurr has also been employed by the federal government to help shape the national high school curriculum and many of the students declared concerns over this fact.

“I’m really distressed at the fact that he is teaching hundreds of students, some of whom come from the same backgrounds that he has called ‘chinkypoos’ and ‘abos.’ He’s also in charge of building a high school curriculum which is going to dictate the way students learn in the next decade,” Ricki Scanlan said.

The rally ended at the John Wooley Building where Spurr’s office is located and protesters cried out chants of “Barry Spurr, rhyme this, you’re a white supremacist” and “Hey Barry! Hear us say! We got you sacked today!”

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