Architectural Blatherations

The University of South Australia writes to Dr Garry

top rule

The Good Oil

Way back in 2004, some dumbf**k claiming to be Ms Joanne Cys, Head of the school of architecture at the University of South Australia sent Architectural Blatherations the following email. Given the amount of email spoofing that occurs these days, we cannot be sure of the provenance. We had previously received a particularly nasty piece of work from one Leila Martin, who claimed to be a former student at the school.

You can read our response to this collective correspondence here.

We quote the entire email verbatim below.

Email (purportedly) from the School of Architecture at the University of South Australia

15th March 2004


Dear Dr Stevens

We refer to the negative judgements made in your website regarding the status of the Architecture Program of the Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture and Design at the University of South Australia. The School and the University believe that the content referring to our School contains errors of fact and of reasonable judgement. We regard this matter very seriously.

Whilst we do not wish to impose our opinion on a private web-site, we believe it is in the interests of the School, and of yourself, that your content be based on properly representative information.

We write this letter to inform you that we have an internationally recognised architecture program that is highly sought after by local and foreign students, led by a vibrant teaching and research community, and that this has been the case for some years. Our 2002 and 2003 GCEQ scores, which are well above the national average in all categories, attest to the success of the Architecture Program and the School of Architecture and Design. In the presentation of your 'methodology' you inaccurately state that the data for a particular year reflects the opinions of that same year. In fact the data presented in 2002, comes from the cohort of graduates from 2001. This makes your information some 3 years out of date.

We do not agree with, and feel aggrieved by, your allegation that we may be the worst school of architecture in Australia. We believe that your analysis of the GCEQ data is at best statistically inconclusive, and at worst incorrect. While we agree with you that our program scored relatively lower in 1999 to 2001 compared to 2002 and 2003, we believe that the positive turn is due in part to changes that reflect the continuing evolving culture of the school. We invite you to visit our website to view our achievements at

In addition we refer you to the conditions set out by the AVCC and the GCCA in their Code of Practice which explicitly require users of the data to acknowledge that the information is not suitable for making inter-institutional comparison. More seriously, the Code also states as a General Condition that: 'users of survey data must not utilise GDS, CEQ or PREQ data to knowingly undermine the reputation and standing of institutions'.

As such, we consider your rhetorical questions:'Is this Australia's worst Architecture School?', and 'is the school a dud?' to constitute an unwarranted and unreasonable attack on our reputation.

Should you wish to discuss the web-site and its contents please feel free to contact me through our School Office on 08 8302 0366.

Whilst we are happy to discuss this matter in a cooperative fashion, we would appreciate the immediate removal of the material relating to our school from your website and any commentary associated with this matter. Whilst this may be a mutually acceptable conclusion to the matter, if you do not remove the material within 2 weeks, we reserve the right to pursue this matter further through legal channels.

Yours sincerely


Joanne Cys Acting Head of School, University of South Australia
Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture and Design University of South Australia

Cc Mr Stephen Loo, Architecture Program Director, University of South Australia
Professor Michael Rowan, Pro Vice Chancellor, University of South Australia
Ms Geraldine Haese, Legal Officer University of South Australia