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Teacher threats in Australia: academic ability questioned

In rather alarming news for the industry, international students are reported to have been making crude death threats to teachers who give them bad grades in Victoria, Australia, according to the Sunday Herald Sun.

Teachers' cars and houses have also been vandalised and staff physically intimidated, apparently.

In one incident being investigated by the Victoria Police an email was sent to a university lecturer stating: “I will kill u and your family.”

The student was said to have complained about a low end of semester mark, and warned the lecturer to expect an attack on university grounds.

In total, four staff members from three Victorian universities have reported threats made by international students. Teachers’ cars and houses have also been vandalised and staff physically intimidated, apparently.

Some of the more interesting comments below the original news story (see link above) suggest that some academic staff teaching international students are feeling pressure to enable them to pass their course requirements, regardless of academic ability.

Clinical psychologist Lisa Warren said she dealt with up to 15 cases involving university staff last year involving both international and domestic students. The majority of the threats were made by email or on social networking sites.

One source said universities were reluctant to act on threats because of the considerable revenues brought in by Victoria’s 151,000 full-fee paying international students.

Students usually spend between $14,000 and $35,000 a year for a bachelor of arts and more for other degrees such as medicine, according to government estimates.

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