Architectural Blatherations

Joanne Cys at the University of South Australia Architecture School takes on Dr Garry

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The Good Oil

On this page we respond to this email from Joanne Cys at the school of architecture at the University of South Australia.

Read this first

You should read these pieces before you continue:

Joanne Cys emails

In early 2004, Ms Joanne Cys, acting head of the University of South Australia Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture and Design emailed us, pointing out what she believed to be inaccuracies in our description of the school. Some of her points were well made, others not.

We correct our mistakes

We are not in the business of promulgating misinformation, and we are always happy to correct factual problems. Naturally, we corrected all the errors of fact we felt Ms Cys had identified. We are grateful to her for pointing them out.

Our transparency, their opacity

To show our bona fides and the transparency of our process, we also published in its entirety Ms Cys' critical email to us. At the Architectural Blatherations site you will read material both supportive and critical of him (sometimes venomously so).

We were looking forward to the University of South Australia being equally open. We hoped that Dr Garry would be allowed to publish his critique on their school's website.

The University of South Australia threatens to suppress Dr Garry

Didn't happen. The university can dish it out, but it can't take it. Ms Joanne Cys did not simply request corrections to matters of fact, all of which Dr Garry was happen to examine. Oh no. Ms Joanne Cys went much further in her demands, threatening legal action to suppress Dr Garry's opinions.

We sent the school a robust email, suggesting they pull their fingers out of their arses {asses} and let commentators comment without fear. We also expressed our disgust that an Australian university wanted to suppress free speech. Mind you, Australian universities have a long history of suppressing dissent.

The University of South Australia didn't appreciate this suggestion. They started frothing at the mouth and sooled their top-notch pit-bull lawyers on to us, demanding to vet and censor anything we may care to write about them, now and in the future.

These pit-bulls are big stuff: according to their own site, these guys are the largest law firm in Asia, 14th largest in the world; they have almost 300 partners and 2,000 employees; and turn over AU$400 million each year.

Robust debate

Of course, we here at Architectural Blatherations were anxious to engage in robust and vigorous debate (which would have made its way to these pages). But—to our shock—for good measure the lawyers also demanded that we never have any contact with their delicate clients.

We're confused!

The school had demanded a reply to its letter. But the school's lawyers then said we were forbidden from contacting it.

Man, are we confused! Are we supposed to be talking to the school or not? The legal eagles gave the impression that hearing from us would give their academic clients at the school of architecture a collective attack of the vapours. Perhaps leading to hospitalisation!

You read it right: if Dr Garry writes, emails, calls, faxes, or exchanges body fluids with anyone at the school of architecture at the University of South Australia, he's going to be responsible for vast convoys of ambulances ferrying crowds of traumatised academics from the school to intensive care units.

More than that, he's also going to be hit with a big fat writ. Just for asking a question!

Dear oh dear. The wilting flowers at the university have no intention of answering the hard questions. Or any damn question, for that matter.

We caved in! Sort of…

We were happy to comply with the not-so-subtle demands of the lawyers. We were flattered that the university decided to deploy 2,000 lawyers with half a billion dollars of revenue behind them to take on little ol' Architectural Blatherations and Dr Garry.

The last thing we want to do is blow a scorching wind on the fragile flowers inhabiting the great garden of Australian academia. And we certainly don't want to lose our house and cats through endless litigation started by the academics at the University of South Australia, one of the world's least important universities. Goodness us no!

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