University of Newcastle academic Professor Jennifer Martin has resigned from the university's council in protest at the appointment of former deputy prime minister Mark Vaile as the institution's next chancellor.
Mr Vaile is chairman of Whitehaven Coal and holds other board positions.
He will replace Paul Jeans, who has been chancellor since 2013.
Professor Martin, who is chair of clinical pharmacology in the university's School of Medicine and Public Health, said she felt that neither Mr Vaile's appointment or the process by which it was made took into account stakeholder concerns about his background, in particular his links to the coal industry.
"These concerns, particularly the importance of the voice of stakeholders on this matter, were brought to the council by myself and others," Professor Martin said in a statement.
"Further, the appointment does not clearly align with the University's strategic plan nor commitment to the Hunter region's economic transition, which were highlighted by recent community engagement with ex chief scientist Alan Finkel and ex Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull."
Mr Jeans said the university was disappointed Professor Martin had chosen to resign from the university's governing body.
"The process for appointing our chancellor is long established and was last reviewed in 2016. The process was followed by a chancellor selection committee chaired by the deputy chancellor," he said.
"All council members voted in favour of the appointment. All council members were given the opportunity to meet the preferred candidate.
"Council looks forward to working with Mr Vaile when he starts in July. Our Council members are passionate about the university and the opportunity to strengthen its role in this region and beyond."
Comment has been sought from Mr Vaile.
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