Because I Said So: Australian College, Libel and Legal Action.

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Thankfully I was raised by parents who not only had the intelligence, but the respect, to reason with their children, to explain why I was, in fact, going to go to bed right now, or that I’d be using a broom from now on as a direct result of being unable to keep my willy out of the vacuum cleaner, or that eating more of that chocolate was going to make me hyperactive, then overly tired, then unable to conduct myself in an appropriate fashion, which would probably lead to a spanking, but you know, if I wanted to risk it, the choice was mine.

Now, I have since had enough experience with educational institutions to know that the administrative bureaucracies therein rarely fall outside of the lower end of average on the bell curves of reasonableness and competence, and I’m well acquainted enough with a variety of workplace environments to know that senior positions in just about any institution, in any industry, are frequently filled by people who have absolutely no business doing anything more involved than manning a fucking checkout in some two-bit, backwater supermarket in the arse end of Yepoon. Still, despite the piss-poor standard of most upper-middle management, it is a rare occasion that one comes across a “professional”, particularly one dealing with other adults, whose delusions of adequacy countenance the use of that pillar of explamplary parenting: “Because I said so, that’s why.”

From: Gethin Lynes [mailto:gethinlynes@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, 7 June 2013 1:37 PM
To: ######@australiancollege.edu.au
Subject: National Editor Course material.

Hi ######,

Just wondering if it’s possible to be sent a digital copy of the course material for the National Editor Course.

Want to keep it as reference material, and will soon be moving overseas, so carting all the printed copies that I received prior to the college’s switch to digital is just not really an option.

Can you organise this, or can you refer me to whoever can assist?

Thanks much,

Gethin.

From: ###### ####### [mailto:######@australiancollege.edu.au]
Sent: Friday, 7 June 2013 2:35 PM
To: gethinlynes@gmail.com
Subject: National Editor Course material.

Hello Gethin,

I have discussed this with the CEO and unfortunately we would not be able to provide a digital copy.

Perhaps you could scan your hard copies.

Kindest regards, ######

From: Gethin Lynes [mailto:gethinlynes@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, 7 June 2013 5:08 PM
To: ######@australiancollege.edu.au
Subject: National Editor Course material.

Hi ######,

Perhaps you could explain the reason for this.

According to the college’s website, “all course materials are now provided as soft copies”, so clearly they are available as digital copies.

Since I am a paying student, is there some reason I should not be treated the same as other students?

I have paid no small sum of money for this course, and providing copies of my material that I can effectively continue to use does not seem unreasonable, especially given that “soft copies” are now the norm.

Regards,

Gethin.

From: ###### ####### [mailto:######@australiancollege.edu.au]
Sent: Wednesday, 12 June 2013 8:23 AM
To: gethinlynes@gmail.com
Subject: National Editor Course material.

Hello Gethin,

When you enrolled in the course you were provided hard copy course materials.

As of the 1/7/12 we no longer offered any new enrolment any other version except soft copy course materials.

There is the option to buy the hard copy materials during the enrolment period, if there is a preference for hard copy resources to assist with course learning.

As a paying student you were provided all course resources available at the time of your enrolment and have now completed your course.

If you require soft copy of the course materials, you will have to scan your hard copy course materials.

Kind regards, ######

From: Gethin Lynes [mailto:gethinlynes@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, 17 June 2013 2:50 PM
To: ######@australiancollege.edu.au
Subject: National Editor Course material.

Hi ######,

This is an extremely disappointing response to my request, and one that I do not believe reflects very well on Australian College at all.

Frankly, I’m quite stunned, and at a loss as to why you would take that position. It has left me with a very bad taste, after what has otherwise been a very positive experience of the College. It’s almost as if you are being deliberately obtuse or going out of your way to be unnecessarily obstructive.

Your latest repsonse neither explains anything, nor gives any reason for your position.

I agree that I was, in fact, provided my course materials when I enrolled with the resources that were available at the time. The fact that I have “completed my course” is irrelevant in as far as making a reasonable request as a fee paying student goes. And, in fact, considering I have yet to receive my final assessment feedback, not to mention my diploma, I would venture that I am still very much an ongoing customer.

Regardless of this, however, what I am asking for seems straightforward and reasonable, and would save me considerable time and unnecessary expenditure on scanning. At the end of the day, the result would be the same – i.e. I would have a digital copy. (All current students have a digital copy already, so presumably it is not a copyright issue?)

If your (unexplained) reason has to do with the expense of sending me that material in soft copy, I would be happy to contribute a modest amount to cover that cost.

As things stand, you have an extremely unhappy customer, who has a strong inclination to engage in negative feedback via Social Media, and whatever other avenues are available to me. I would much prefer to end my relationship with the college on a positive note.

Could you please reconsider your position.

Gethin.

From: ###### ####### [mailto:######@australiancollege.edu.au]
Sent: Tuesday, 18 June 2013 1:41 PM
To: gethinlynes@gmail.com
Subject: National Editor Course material.

Hello Gethin,

At the time of your enrolment you were issued and received the course material, you had paid for.

You have now completed your course and our obligations have been met.

You have your course materials to scan for your private use. They cannot be re-issued by the College.

Gethin your threats are unwarranted and unjust. You have not received the answer you wanted and have decided to resort to threatening and bullying tactics.

We have forwarded your written “threat” to slander Australian College via social media to our legal team to commence the appropriate legal action.

Your comment of “preferring to end the relationship with the College on a positive note” is clearly false and misleading.

Please note any further correspondence from you will be forwarded straight to our legal team and in relation to this request, no further responses will be provided from myself.

###### #######

From: Gethin Lynes [mailto:gethinlynes@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, 21 June 2013 1:02 PM
To: ######@australiancollege.edu.au
Subject: National Editor Course material.

######,

At the risk of sounding repetitive, this is a very disappointing response. Not only is it unnecessarily aggressive, it is thoroughly unreasonable.

There was never any question of the College being under any “obligations”, as you put it, merely a quite reasonable request from myself for material that is being issued to other students as a matter of course.

I may have been mistaken in my understanding that until I have received my final results, and diploma, I am still a student of the College, but rather than relate this in a reasonable fashion, or give any explanation whatsoever for the College’s refusal to issue the soft copies of course material, you simply state the obvious: “you were issued and received your course material”.

Furthermore, you make the clearly false and misleading claim that these course materials “cannot be re-issued by the College”, when in fact, the College is merely unwilling to reissue them.

As far as your accusation of me making “threats” to the College goes, my indication that I feel inclined to express a negative response to my experience of the College was not intended as a threat, but as an illustration of exactly how unimpressed by the overall conduct of the College I am.

Not only do I find your current position regarding course materials to be unreasonable, but I have had criticisms of the course content the entire way through – criticisms I had intended making, not in any public way, but constructively and privately to the College administration. Not only is some of the course material grossly out dated – referring to sales trends, and technology advancements that were applicable in 2009, for example, but are now completely irrelevant to a changing publishing environment – but there are numerous instances of editorial mistakes in the course material. Ironic given the nature of the course in question. Of course, such mistakes will no doubt be shrugged off, and explained by the clever inclusion in the course material of the little anecdote about “Muphry’s Law”. Additionally, the habit of having almost every module marked by a different tutor, and providing no cohesive system of feedback, with an ongoing tutor who gets to know a particular student’s strengths and weaknesses and can therefore help address them, is very far from being an exceptional educational experience.

At any rate, your accusations of “slander” are completely unwarranted, being that:

a)      Slander is only slander if it’s untrue; and

b)      I am well within my rights to express an opinion, to whomever I choose, about my experience of dealing with the College; and

c)       I think you’ll find that it’s not slander, in print it’s libel. Perhaps you meant “defamation”.

There are, in fact, other reasons why the College would not have recourse to take legal action for slander, but I’m sure your legal team can apprise you of those.

Your claim that I did not get the answer I wanted, and decided to resort to threats and bullying tactics, is both disgracefully unprofessional, and rather ironic, considering you followed this up with your own bullying tactics and “threatened” me with legal action.

You could have quite easily replied by saying “Gethin, we can’t reconsider our position because…”, and while it would not have been the result I wanted, it would have given me the response I asked for.

I am under no illusions as to the College deciding hereafter to reconsider its position, and as you have explicitly stated, I shall not expect a response from yourself.

However, I will expect, and eagerly await, a response from your legal team, and the commencement of this “appropriate legal action”.

Regards,

Gethin.

Australian College “Leaders in Distance, Online Learning”.