WORLD-RENOWNED economist Steve Keen has launched industrial action against the University of Western Sydney as its board investigates him for "serious academic misconduct".
Professor Keen said the university's executive was trying to reprimand him for refusing to fail students. "I told students I couldn't see how I could possibly fail anyone in the final submissions when the degree they're studying was going to be abolished," he said.
Professor Keen said it would be unfair to fail students who would have no way to re-attempt the course given it had been dropped by the university.
"In this situation, what do you do with a student who's failed this subject?" he said. "I'm seen as a world leader in this field. I teach students stuff that nobody else can teach them."
He was the only economist on a Sydney Morning Herald forecasting panel to predict interest rates would be lowered to 3 per cent last year.
Professor Keen said he had not been informed what recourse would be available for failed students.
He has been a vocal critic of the university's widespread course and staff cuts since the economics degree was cancelled last year.
When he had not heard by Monday whether his application for voluntary redundancy had been successful, Professor Keen launched action against the university with the Fair Work Commission.
A statement from the university confirmed Professor Keen was "under investigation for serious academic misconduct".
"The University of Western Sydney believes that any allegation of 'soft marking' is extremely serious and an affront to academic standards."
The statement said the university had reported Professor Keen to the Federal Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency and the Independent Commission Against Corruption, as it was required to do. Any current student who failed a subject would be "case-managed" to ensure they could "still finalise their degree and provide a good outcome for them," the statement read.