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Adelaide Uni leader under ICAC probe resigns


University of Adelaide vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen has resigned “due to ill health” – two months after abruptly taking leave and the subsequent announcement of an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry into his conduct.

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University chancellor Catherine Branson announced Rathjen’s official departure from his role in an email to staff a short time ago.

“I am writing to inform you that the University’s Council has accepted the resignation of Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen AO, due to ill health,” Branson wrote.

“The University extends its appreciation for the contribution Professor Rathjen has made since taking up the role in 2018.

Professor Mike Brooks has been Acting Vice-Chancellor since Professor Rathjen was granted leave of absence in early May 2020, and I am grateful to Professor Brooks for the seamless continuity of leadership he is providing to our University community.

“The University will make an announcement about the search for a new Vice-Chancellor in due course.

“In the meantime, our focus will remain on the continued delivery of high-quality teaching, learning and research, supporting the State’s social and economic needs, and responding to the challenges faced by our community from the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.”

Rathjen was granted indefinite leave on May 5 – the day after former chancellor Kevin Scarce abruptly resigned from the role six months before the end of his six-year term.

On May 7, Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander announced he had launched an inquiry into Rathjen.

“I have commenced an investigation in respect of allegations of improper conduct by the Vice-Chancellor of The University of Adelaide,” Lander said in a statement.

“I am also investigating the manner in which the University dealt with those allegations.

“The University has committed to providing full cooperation with my investigation. I do not intend to comment further on the nature of the allegations.”

Branson, a former SA Crown Solicitor and Federal Court judge, was appointed chancellor last week after serving as deputy chancellor since 2017.

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