The Chancellor and the CV: Questions Remain

The Australian Financial Review's Joe Aston has written a scathing follow-up piece pointing out that Swinburne Chancellor, John Pollaers, still needs to answer questions relating to alleged inflated claims he has made about his CV. 

In October, we wrote about Aston's claims that Mr Pollaers had conferred an honorary doctorate on his public relations consultant and founder of 50 Crates, Simon Hammond, raising serious questions about the ethics of this decision. 

We sent a letter to members of Swinburne Council asking them to explain how Council came to award this degree, the criteria used, and whether there was a conflict of interest. We also questioned the circumstances of Mr Hammond's appointment as Adjunct Professor at Swinburne in November 2020 and requested that Council adopt transparent practices to ensure its accountability. 

The VC stepped in to defend Mr Pollaers by asserting that there was no question to answer as he had recused himself from the discussion to award the honorary doctorate. While we have no reason to doubt the VC's recollection of the discussion, we are still waiting to hear a reply regarding the circumstances of Mr Hammond's initial appointment as Adjunct Professor.

What this sorry saga has done, however, is bring Swinburne into disrepute. The Chancellor's public battle to join AGL's board has brought another matter to light: namely, the degree to which Mr Pollaers has massaged his CV and inflated his credentials over the past several years. 

Joe Aston has claimed that there appears little evidence to support the Chancellor's assertion that he was responsible for the 'turnaround' of '16 major company transformations', when it 'would be impossible', Aston states, 'because Professor Pollaers only ever worked for three major companies'. Aston goes on to ask pointedly how it is that the University can reasonably insist on academic and professional integrity from its students when the behaviour of its senior office bearer falls far short of such standards.

To date, the Chancellor has refused to explain himself. It's time he did so. The broader Swinburne community deserves better than to be made a laughingstock in the eyes of those following the manoeuvring of the Chancellor. If the allegations made by Joe Aston are untrue, it is time that the Chancellor clear his name. If, however, the Chancellor has lied about his history to secure an advantage, he must stand down.  


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