Uni’s $157k bill to protect ‘bullied’ professor
The dean of science at a prestigious Sydney university has denied spending the past six months orchestrating a harassment campaign against herself - a campaign that cost the uni a whopping $157,000 in security.
Dianne Jolley, 49, appeared in Downing Centre Local Court today where she pleaded not guilty to three charges including dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, giving false information person/property in danger and false representation resulting in police investigation.
Professor Jolley, the Dean of Science at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), alleged she was sent 10 threatening letters between July and November.
The threats allegedly kicked off following the cancellation of a course at the university, which news.com.au has learnt was the Chinese Medicine course.
According to court documents, immediately after reporting the alleged threats, UTS implemented a number of elaborate security measures. The six months of protecting the professor eventually ended in a $157,000 bill.
Detective Chief Inspector John Maricic described them as "significant strategies" in a press conference earlier today.
"(It's) certainly unusual. Obviously it has occurred, no doubt, in the past, but certainly unusual for us and obviously the circumstances surrounding it," Det Inps Maricic said.
"We don't have a motive, however, that may be something that comes into play down the track."
Professor Jolley sat downstairs this morning as her case was mentioned, while in the courtroom her lawyer Aaron Kernaghan told the court his client was hoping to avoid the media attention.
Despite this, the local court's registrar requested the professor present herself to the courtroom.
She appeared briefly to collect her bail slip, supported by her partner and her solicitor.
Wearing a navy blue dress with her hair pulled back in a loose bun, Prof Jolley gave her lawyer a dry smile with tears in her eyes.
Police prosecutors told the court there would be a lengthy delay in obtaining the forensic material necessary for their case.
After a brief discussion, the court's registrar requested the brief of evidence be served by January 29. Her conditional bail will continue.
Prof Jolley, the Dean of Science, was arrested earlier this month outside the classrooms she's been teaching environmental chemistry and toxicology since last year.
Police allege Prof Jolley's elaborate harassment campaign started in May this year when she told police she'd began receiving threatening letters in relation to the cancellation of a university course.
Prof Jolley filed a report over the allegedly terrifying incident, kicking off an extensive police investigation.
On September 16, Prof Jolley contacted police again, claiming a threatening letter and clothing items had been left on her car in Sydney's south.
Police were also told a number of clothing items had been stolen from her backyard that same day.
In another incident, on September 25, Prof Jolley told police her alleged harasser had sent another threatening letter and a piece of clothing to a business in Haymarket, where UTS is located.
Prof Jolley told police the clothing items sent to Haymarket were the same ones taken from her backyard earlier that month. Another report was filed with police.
In total, Prof Jolley claimed she received 10 threatening letters between July and November.
Her claims of harassment triggered a lengthy police investigation and resulted in significant security measures being implemented for Prof Jolley, police allege.
Speaking outside court, Mr Kernaghan said the professor had told him the threats were very real.
"She has been experiencing a long and steady progress of difficulties at the university from people who obviously have interests in the way in which universities are run," he said.
"Those issues will rise in the evidence."
UTS announced it would stop offering its degree in Chinese medicine in July after more than 25 years, leaving dozens of staff, students and alumni furious. The degree, which will be wound up by 2021, was the longest running in Australia.
The move was supported by the Faculty of Science, of which Prof Jolley is dean.
Mr Kernaghan did not say the alleged threats were related to the cancelling of the Chinese medicine degree but did say there had been a lot of "passionate" reactions to the announcement.
"It's difficult to say what the threats are over but she as a dean was charged with great responsibility in the way the Science Faculty was organised," he said.
"I certainly indicate that there's been an interest in the Chinese medicine course from a number of stakeholders across the state and locally and that has led to a number of very passionate actors out there to trumpet their course. It's been difficult for all staff at UTS but certainly and especially my client."
Mr Kernaghan described the UTS professor as a "longstanding, proud employee" of the university and that she was "looking forward to returning to work and to returning to her long and illustrious career as a teacher as soon as possible."
Prof Jolley is on leave with pay from the university.
Mr Kernaghan alluded to challenging all aspects of the NSW Police investigation, referring to the police prosecutor asking for six months to get the full brief of evidence ready.
"Anyone who is confronted with allegations which are wild and furious and covered in typos, as they have been this morning, are entitled to plead not guilty and defend the charge," he said.
"There were typographical errors in the press release from NSW Police but I suppose we can't expect everything," he laughed. "I get they were in a rush."
Mr Kernaghan was referring to an error made by NSW Police this morning referring to Prof Jolley's bail.
Mr Kernaghan warned people to wait for the evidence to come out in court.
"Anyone who was seeking to make comment about the notoriety of a professor being charged (should know) that with high position comes great responsibility but also great attention and sometimes that attention is not fair, accurate or reasonable and that's why we have a court process," he said.
Following extensive investigations, officers from Sydney City Police Area Command arrested Prof Jolley at UTS just before midday on November 25.
Police will hold a press conference later today to speak about their six month investigation.
In a statement, a UTS spokesperson said it was providing support to its university community.
"UTS is aware that charges have been laid against a member of staff," the spokesperson said.
"The university is assisting the police with their investigation and also providing support to our community. As this matter is before the courts we cannot make further comment."