Tue, Jun-13-17, 08:58
Plan: DANDR '92
Location: Eastern ON, Canada
Backlash over Murdoch University's decision to host 'dangerous nutrition expert'
Hint: that "dangerous nutrition expert" advocates LCHF
link to article
Backlash over Murdoch Uni's decision to host 'dangerous nutrition expert'
by Hannah Barry, Western Australia News, June 8 2017
Students, dieticians and fitness professionals have criticised Murdoch University for pushing ahead with a seminar organised by controversial nutritionist Christine Cronau, despite backlash from a petition regarding her qualifications and 'dangerous diet advice'.
Ms Cronau is a Brisbane-based "nutrition expert" and author of Bring Back The Fat.
She advocates a low carb, high saturated fat diet which focuses on the science behind eating foods such as cream, butter and eggs in moderated portions, and often conducts seminars educating people on her diet.
She announced her plans to offer her Bring Back the Fat 2017 seminars in Western Australia earlier this year, and a date at Edith Cowan University's Joondalup campus was set for June 25. Tickets range from $40 to $130.
But a petition calling to ban her from speaking at the university soon gathered more than 200 signatures, and ECU officials then called off the event.
"ECU, like many universities, allows external groups and individuals to hire our venues when they are not otherwise being used," a spokesperson said.
"After this event was brought to our attention, we have taken the decision to decline the venue booking as it does not align with our evidence-based approach to dietetics teaching and research."
The University of Adelaide also cancelled her South Australian event following pressure from students and other activists.
Following ECU's announcement, Ms Cronau and her management team rescheduled the speaking engagement to Murdoch University's South Street campus, also for June 25.
But Perth accredited dietician Chris Vavakis has now petitioned to have her second WA seminar cancelled, and said the event would align Murdoch with "dangerous medical and nutritional advice".
"Christine Cronau provides dangerous medical and nutritional advice without any credible qualifications in either area," he said.
"Should Vice Chancellor Eeva Leinonen and her senior executive team at Murdoch University knowingly allow this dangerous nonsense to be promoted on their campus, it is my opinion that they are morally bankrupt.
"Both Edith Cowan University and the University of Adelaide quickly cancelled Ms Cronau's event bookings once the true nature of her presentation came to light. I sincerely hope Murdoch will publicly reinforce its commitment to science and rational thinking and do the same."
However a Murdoch spokesman said the university would stand behind its decision to allow Ms Cronau to host her seminar.
"Murdoch University, as an institution of learning, works to promote critical thinking and learning through discussion, debate and exposure to alternatives points of view. One way to achieve this is to welcome other voices on campus in the form of guest speakers or visiting lecturers," he said.
"The University takes a common sense approach to the debate of controversial issues – we do not condone hate speech in any form and we do encourage respectful and insightful debate of thought provoking topics.
"Murdoch University campuses are places where different views can be respectfully aired and debated. This does not necessarily mean that the University or individual staff and students agree with those views, including those of guest speakers."
Ms Cronau has since hit back at the petition, and said she was the target of bullying.
"This petition they call me a quack and a charlatan. They also call me the 'butternut', 'Christine ConFrau[d]', a 'zealot', 'a joker', a 'hypocrite', and that is just on their latest post! Previously, I have been called everything under the sun, from 'as ugly as sin' to 'dumb b----'," she said.
"In June, I am speaking in Adelaide and Perth. They petitioned the universities where I was speaking- ECU and Adelaide- and told them I was a quack and a charlatan with no qualifications, and to cancel my booking. Being the high quality petition that it was (not), I assumed the universities would ignore it. But they didn't and cancelled my bookings.
"The events are going ahead regardless. We will make it happen. Murdoch University has given me permission to speak, regardless of complaints or petitions from the hate page. And a new venue for Adelaide will be announced shortly."
But students have continued to raise concerns about Murdoch's decision to push ahead with the seminar.
"As an allied health professional, I feel that evidence based practice is very important. There is too much misinformation being spread by people with inadequate or no education," one post said.
"University should be a ground of sharing evidence-based knowledge and not harmful pseudoscience. Hosting people like this at Murdoch gives them a level of credibility they do not deserve and have not earned. It is a risk to the public and to Murdoch's reputation as an institute of learning," another said.