Adelaide University says its vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen, who has been under investigation by SA’s corruption watchdog over allegations of misconduct, has resigned due to ill health.
- Adelaide University says vice chancellor Peter Rathjen has resigned ‘due to ill health’
- SA’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption said in May that Mr Rathjen was under investigation
- The investigation concerns ‘potential issues of serious or systemic misconduct and maladministration’
Mr Rathjen took an indefinite leave of absence, without public explanation from the university, on May 5.
Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) Bruce Lander released a statement later that week confirming he had launched “an investigation in respect of allegations of improper conduct” by Mr Rathjen and the way in which the university dealt with those allegations.
Catherine Branson, who officially replaced former chancellor Kevin Scarce last week, wrote to university staff and students this morning, announcing Mr Rathjen’s resignation.
“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,” her email reads.
“The university extends its appreciation for the contribution Professor Rathjen has made since taking up the role in 2018.
“The university will make an announcement about the search for a new vice-chancellor in due course.”
Professor Mike Brooks has been acting in the vice-chancellor role since Mr Rathjen took leave.
Ms Branson added that the university’s focus would 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”.
Her email did not refer to the ICAC investigation.
ICAC investigation concerns alleged misconduct
Mr Lander’s May statement stressed that the existence of his investigation “must not be construed as a finding that any person has engaged in impropriety”.
“That will be a matter for findings at the conclusion of the investigation,” the statement says.
“Given the legislation under which I operate is geared toward investigations of these kind being conducted in private I am not in a position to offer further public comment until such time as my investigation has concluded.”
An ICAC spokesperson said today that Mr Lander was unable to make comment at this time.
Mr Rathjen did not respond to a request for comment.