One of Australia’s leading economists has been dismissed from his high-paying university job over revelations he had a relationship with a PhD student.
Dr Chris Edmond was sacked from his job as an Economics Professor at the University of Melbourne this week after over 10 years in the role.
An email from Professor Paul Koffman, the dean of the business and economics faculty, advised staff that Dr Edmond had been dismissed for ‘serious misconduct’ following an investigation into the relationship and his subsequent behaviour.
The ‘disturbing news’ came to light after the PhD student came forward with allegations about Dr Edmond – including that he had been persistently ‘intimidating’ and ‘bullying’ her over a period of 12 years.
‘While I appreciate this is disturbing news to hear, the university takes seriously its support for victims of serious misconduct and its expectations of staff regarding standards of behaviour and adherence to university policy,’ Dr Koffman wrote.
In his departure from the university, Dr Edmond attempted to clear his name with an email to staff that detailed his version of events.
He concurred that he made ‘mistakes’ and said the relationship with the female student was first initiated when he was her PhD supervisor 13 years ago.
Dr Chris Edmond (pictured) was sacked from his job as an Economics Professor at the University of Melbourne this week after over 10 years in the role
Dr Edmond said their relationship had ended but that he continued to oversee the woman in a professional capacity ‘as was her wish’.
He said that while the woman was working on her PhD he sent her several emails that were ‘angry and unprofessional’.
‘I made terrible mistakes and in trying to deal with that mistake made yet more mistakes,’ he wrote in his email to staff.
The professor conceded that he had failed to declare a conflict of interest with the student on several occasions.
However, the student slammed Dr Edmond’s version of events as ‘misleading’.
‘My complaint described a systematic pattern of deliberate and persistent discrimination, intimidation, and bullying by exclusion that has occurred over a period of 12 years after I finished my PhD and continued through to this year,’ she told the Australian Financial Review’s Rear Window column.
A University of Melbourne spokesperson said: ‘We confirm that the University of Melbourne has terminated the employment of Professor Chris Edmond.
‘This follows an independent investigation conducted this year which led to findings that Professor Edmond had engaged in serious misconduct in contravention of University policies.
‘The behaviour that was investigated was deliberate and persistent over a period of more than ten years and involved Professor Edmond denying the complainant professional opportunities.
‘The University of Melbourne does not tolerate behaviour that fails to meet expected standards of professionalism. We thank the complainant for raising the matter and giving the University the opportunity to take action.’
In 2019, Dr Edmond appeared on an episode of 60 Minutes to discuss the impacts of Covid lockdowns on Australia’s economy.
Professor Paul Koffman, the dean of the business and economics faculty at the University of Melbourne (pictured) advised staff via email that Dr Edmond had been dismissed
In his departure from the university, Dr Edmond (pictured on campus) attempted to clear his name with an email to staff that detailed his version of events
He told the program that Australia was in one of the strongest fiscal positions in the world and that economic progress had to be slow and measured.
‘Australia as an economy overall, has had very prudent fiscal policy for a generation. That has put us in a very, very good position to use those fiscal tools in the midst of an unprecedented crisis,’ he told former host Sarah Abo.
‘What we want to avoid is having to crunch the shutdown again and again.
‘Letting it get out of control because we were too impatient to get back to normal, we end up in some sense taking longer to get back to normal because of that impatience.’
Dr Edmond graduated with honours from the University of Queensland before he earned a PhD in economics from the University of Florida in the United States.
He became a professor of economics at the University of Melbourne in 2013 after working as an associate professor for several years.
Dr Edmond (pictured during a Zoom lecture) became a professor of economics at the University of Melbourne in 2013 and had been in the role for 10 years before he was let go
In April, Dr Edmond hosted the then-deputy Reserve Bank governor Michele Bullock during a panel on lessons learnt on monetary policy during the pandemic.
In a bio on his personal website, Dr Edmond said his main research interests are in macroeconomics, international economics, and information economics. ‘
‘Before coming to Melbourne I was an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University,’ he writes.
‘I received my PhD in economics from UCLA in 2004. I am a Fellow of the Econometric Society and an Associate Editor of Econometrica.’
He lists an undergraduate course in Introductory Macroeconomics and a PhD course in macroeconomics as those he is currently teaching.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Dr Edmond for comment.