Professor Barry Spurr Suspended As University Investigates Racist Emails


The University of Sydney has suspended poetry professor Barry Spurr after the revelation he used his university email to send racist comments to friends and colleagues.

“The University of Sydney has suspended Professor Barry Spurr’s employment following serious allegations in relation to offensive emails sent from a University account,” the university said in a statement to press.

“Professor Spurr is suspended, effective immediately, from teaching and engaging in any other University business and is precluded from attending any University campus, while the matter is investigated and dealt with in accordance with the terms of the University’s Enterprise Agreement.”

“Racist, sexist or offensive language is not tolerated at the University of Sydney. The expectations for our staff and affiliates in respect of their professional and personal conduct are clearly set out in the University’s Code of Conduct.”

Spurr was also commissioned as a special consultant on the federal Department of Education’s school curriculum review.

Spurr advised the Department to reduce the amount of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content in the curriculum.

In the emails, Spurr referred to Aboriginal people as “Abos” and ‘human rubbish’.

He also attacked Prime Minister Tony Abbott for being an “Abo lover”.

Minister for Education Christopher Pyne has distanced himself from Spurr.

More to come.

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Max Chalmers is a former New Matilda journalist and editorial staff member. His main areas of interest are asylum seekers, higher education and politics.