On the turps with his protector and patron: Marc Edge ( right) and Sudesh Mishra (left) Photo: Pacnews Pina.

What the cognoscenti in Suva have known for several days was finally revealed in a statement today from the University of the South Pacific – that the head of the USP’s School of Journalism, Dr Marc Edge, has been unceremoniously dumped. Dr Edge has been the subject of at least one formal inquiry at USP – with evidently more to come – after complaints from some of his students, fellow academics in Fiji and New Zealand and three Pacific governments – Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

He denied this and threatened to sue both Grubsheet and the Fiji Sun for defamation. Well, now the truth has finally been laid bare. We were right and he was wrong and Dr Edge is gone from the top journalism job, though not from the USP itself. Yet. He’s been demoted from Head of School to Senior Lecturer and his place has been taken by his chief protector at USP, Professor Sudesh Mishra. It was Mishra who defied a request from the USP hierarchy to act against Dr Edge weeks ago, claiming “academic freedom”. But the USP’s patience with Dr Edge finally ran out after further multiple complaints about his erratic and increasingly bizarre behaviour, not least in relation to his own students.  The School is said to be irrevocably split between the brainwashed first years who worship Dr Edge and senior students who think he is bordering on the certifiable.

Dr Edge has also waged an increasingly bizarre campaign against Grubsheet for our links to the American company, Qorvis Communications. Grubsheet has made no secret of the fact that it works for Qorvis on its Fiji account. But the mad Dr Edge seems to be gripped by the strange belief that he has been the subject of a “black ops” campaign of denigration when the truth is that Qorvis is totally underwhelmed by events at USP. In any event, whatever disagreements Grubsheet has had with Mad Marc precede our Qorvis association by several months. Oh, well. Some people just love conspiracy theories and Dr Edge evidently more than most. And, of course, let’s not allow the facts to get in the way of a good story.

At the annual USP Journalism Awards on Friday night, invited guests were stunned when Dr Edge publicly mentioned Qorvis several times, opining that the USP should institute the Qorvis Award for Best Propaganda by a journalism student. That particular drama is still being played out behind the scenes as more complaints reach the USP hierarchy from those present. But this imported Canadian know-it-all appears to blame the Fijian Government for his demise at USP when the truth is that it has been entirely self inflicted.

Grubsheet has a thick file of Dr Edge’s lunatic rantings to third parties – plus leaked internal USP correspondence – ready to provide our lawyers when we receive the defamation writ that he has threatened. Our defence, of course, will be truth. Dr Edge is not only thin-skinned and a hypocrite. He is a continuing menace to Pacific journalism through his manipulation of his younger students and the bizarre war he is waging against respected and more senior academics such as Professor David Robie, Shailendra Singh and Dr Crosbie Walsh. He has brought the USP and its journalism school into disrepute and the sooner he departs these shores the better.

To follow is the official announcement:

RE: Dr Marc Edge’s position
With reference to the questions raised on the above stated subject, please see below a statement from the University of the South Pacific.

The University of the South Pacific would like to confirm that Dr Marc Edge has been relieved of his administrative responsibilities as Course Coordinator of the Discipline of Journalism at USP effective from 12 November, 2012.
The Head of School of Language, Arts and Media, Professor Sudesh Mishra, will assume the role of the Coordinator of the Discipline of Journalism.
Dr Edge was filing this position temporarily since the departure of the substantive Head of Journalism, Mr Shailendra Singh, who proceeded on study leave.
However, Dr Edge is still an active employee of the University in his capacity as a senior lecturer in the Journalism programme and will be working closely with Professor Mishra in the education and training of journalism students.
The University wishes to thank Dr Edge for his work in training students in the fields of media and journalism.