HELEN Gregory's piece "Uni Students 'gobsmacked" (Herald, 1/7) drew my attention to two strong human emotions: anger and courage.
From the concerns expressed by an honours student at Newcastle University, Jennifer Tan, we can sympathise with her anger at the treatment meted out to senior honours students. We can and indeed should admire and support courage at being prepared to make public her concerns with the School of Psychology.
There are at least two particular points to which I would like to draw attention.
Firstly; on supervision. Hearing of the abrupt termination of her supervision by a competent and valued supervisor she refers to the lack of qualification, at this level, of the 'self-appointed' new supervisors that were likely to take over the critical final months of thesis preparation.
From my own experience as a supervisor of theses at Newcastle University and as an external examiner to other universities, Tan is absolutely justified in her anger.
An external supervisor, in the appropriate field, should be appointed and the university should pay for that supervision. Perhaps Jennifer Tan should write formally to the appropriate body governing professional psychology certification. At a much simpler level: just pay her present supervisor to continue supervision: even after his 'restructuring'.
Secondly; on unexpected changes. Jennifer Tan tells us, through your pages, that, 'there's still definitely no concrete plan" and also that "several students were concerned not only about the way staff had been treated but also about lack of adequate consultation about the [School] restructure. She wrote a submission but never received a response".
With little apparent concern for the additional stress caused by various COVID-19 control procedures, then we seem to have run headlong into a rather serious problem with conflicting claims.
According to the university's 'Enabling Change' director, the university "had been consulting with students throughout the restructure process", and as further reported by Helen Gregory, the Enabling Change director said 'our priority is to support our students and enable their ongoing success. We know this will continue to be prioritised under any new arrangements".
Hang on there. Jennifer Tan has stated, from an extremely vulnerable position, a very different story. To do so she had courage and perhaps an appropriate mental mechanism called anger let that happen.
Perhaps the 'gobs to be smacked' lie elsewhere than among these, angry, courageous, honourable students.
Dr Don Parkes, academic staff, University of Newcastle 1966-1994
Nats nailed it
I NEARLY fell out of my chair when I found myself supporting John Barilaro in his challenge to the state government over the clearly anti-competitive, secret deal that hobbles our port ('Nationals ready to 'fight' Liberals over Newcastle port container terminal deal', 0207).
While we await the judgement on the strange court decision supporting the deal, I wonder how Andrew Constance can be so sure that "The court decision is sound and we should now all move on".
But he would say that I suppose.
Michael Gormly, Islington
Scraps for heartland
ACCORDING to Peter V'Landys, Newcastle should have the third State of Origin game because "[the NRL would] love to reward the supporters up there because they deserve it". (NRL boss Peter V'landys wants State of Origin III at Newcastle's McDonald Jones Stadium, Herald, 1/7).
Is anyone else buying this?
I don't think we should kid ourselves. This is nothing but the NRL scrambling to reframe what has been forced upon them by the NSW government COVID restrictions.
If we were so deserving in the Hunter Region, why wouldn't they offer us a State of Origin game when the restrictions weren't in place?
Maybe they could make it a regular fixture. After all, we are deserving, aren't we?
No this stinks very much like the second-hand screen we have at McDonald Jones Stadium - a cast-off from Parramatta Stadium. Once again, Newcastle is offered the scraps and is expected to be grateful for it.
At least the NRL should have the honesty to just say "look, Stadium Australia, Parramatta Stadium, the SCG, Brookvale, Leichhardt, Penrith, Shark Park, Kogarah, Campbelltown, Central Coast and Wollongong stadiums aren't available at the moment, but you were our 12th choice."
Chris Swain, Adamstown Heights
Help our homeless
ALMOST every day we read about the lack of housing in Newcastle, and I read a story in the Herald recently regarding a young couple who could not find accomodation and were sleeping on a friends sofa and in a car. They both had secure jobs, but were unable to secure rental premises.
The high cost of rentals and shortage of available rentals appears to be ongoing.
I quite often I drive along University Drive and see housing built in recent years but most of it stands empty.
I believe that it was probably built with the intention of housing overseas university students and to date that has not eventuated.
Why these empty units have not been turned over for the local rental market is surprising. Are we still waiting and hoping for the overseas students?
Denise Lindus Trummel, Mayfield
Leadership is lacking
HOW much longer must we, the long-suffering public, have to put up with this arrogant, ignorant jaw-jutting excuse for a Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, as he limelights the Covid debate, amending his advice as to who is eligible and for what vaccine.
To my knowledge, he, like most Australians, is not medically qualified so why does he continue to seem to think he is?
Who could forget his outrageous claim early this year that by the end of March that four million Australians will be vaccinated?
In fact, only one million had been by that time - he claimed that was because we couldn't get enough supplies. You would think that a responsible leader would have actually ensured reliability of supply before making such grandiose predictions,
As a result we citizens are continually made to appear guilty of not being vaccinated when in fact it wasn't possible because of all the conflicting statements plus the fact that for a long time the vaccine was not available.
I really feel for the GPs and their poor receptionists for the abuse and mistrust they have been receiving because of this.
Robert Green, Georgetown
DEAR neighbours, I love the smell of your unfiltered wood that you burn in your in house fireplaces, but I do object to the plastics that you mix with it. Please don't pollute the air that our population is trying to breathe. Maybe you can put it in the recycle bin and help save our environment.
David Smith, Belmont
I WOULD like to acknowledge the paramedics and staff at John Hunter Hospital for their dedication and care awarded to my husband after suffering a heart attack on Tuesday, June 29. He is now home after having a stent inserted, all within 48 hours. He received outstanding care. Thank you.
Brenda McDonald, Warners Bay
BRUCE Brander, (Short Takes, 1/7 ), do you realise Norway has 98 per cent renewable power, almost all from hydro, and Tasmania has 100 per cent renewable power? Plenty of other countries are on their way to matching that.
Jan Philip Trevillian, Fennell Bay
AS Paul Keating, Australia's greatest living former prime minister, would say on the vaccine failure, "you wouldn't trust this mob with a jam jar full of five cent bits".
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point
NEWCASTLE and surrounding suburbs are going great guns with COVID. Why would you jeopardise that by having the State of Origin at McDonald Jones Stadium? It's not rocket science.
Mick Walker, Elermore Vale
I WOULD like to let Sue Kenny know about the compulsory QR code. All shops should have QR codes and a register for people to write their name, phone number and time they were there, plus hand sanitiser. I find sometimes it's easier to fill in the register than use the QR code. Ask where it is. If all else fails, dob them in. It's for all our safety. Hope this was helpful.
Phill Payne, Gateshead
JOHN Butler, Australia is so lucky to have Glady; Ruby Princess comes to mind.
Bruce Cook, Adamstown
SCOMO, the man that brought these new plans to the national cabinet, says "navigating your way through COVID-19 is uncharted waters, and anyone who thinks there is a pathway without risk, without vulnerabilities, clearly doesn't understand". This from a man who told us it isn't a race and we have the luxury of time to plan properly. Maybe he knows something? Nahh! Well ScoMo, I don't fancy seeing your poorly planned escapades!
Vic Davies, Tighes Hill
ALONG with his planning a way out of the virus I think Scott Morrison should also be planning a move out of the Lodge and a career change.
John Bonnyman, Fern Bay
WHAT is a pandemic? State leaders and health officials driving us all around the bend with a never-ending bombardment of COVID data, day in and day out. It's also referred to as egomania.