Consider this: You're the administration of a prestigious, publicly funded higher education institute. The boyfriend of one of your faculty is applying to your Ph.d program. The applicant has NONE of the traditional requirements for a Ph.d program. No undergraduate degrees, no MA degree. The applicant has limited finances to pay tuition. The applicant is charismatic and charming and purports to have a diverse, high-powered and dramatic professional history as an explorer, consultant and author. Would not common sense and academic diligence dictate that this applicant, weighed against others with all the appropriate requirments, should be scrutinized extra carefully before admission? If for no other reason, to be able to justify the admission to another, traditionally qualified candidate who was not admitted?

In my opinion there is a potential scandal being covered up by RMIT regarding Earl de Blonville's acceptance into the School of Graduate Research (SGR) in 2011 and his subsequent receipt of an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) of $50,000.00 AUD. This is the synopsis of events and documentation supporting that opinion. Neither RMIT or Earl de Blonville will respond to any of the questions raised below.

My personal conclusion is that Earl de Blonville is a charming, well-spoken con-artist. For further reading on that subject and

In 2008 Earl de Blonville enrolled in an online university, Rushmore University, to pursue a Ph.d. Thesis subject: "Seventh Journey" (the name of Earl's self-published book). Rushmore University is a non-accredited, online institution nominally located in the Cayman Islands. It is often called a "diploma mill" with minimal requirements for a degree beyond cash and with minimal academic rigor.

According to the administration at Rushmore, Earl completed all his requirements (which appear to be reading a dozen or so self-selected books and writing book reports) but was not awarded his diploma for failure to pay the balance of his tuition. A Ph.d at Rushmore costs roughly $15,000 USD. In spite of not receiving his degree, de Blonville represented himself as Dr. de Blonville on several sites including one on his own website. This Rushmore Newsletter lists Earl as already having his Ph.d (page 5).

Three years later in 2011 Earl applied to the School of Graduate Research at RMIT where his girlfriend, Jennifer Gidley, was an adjunct faculty. On his page, Earl posted the CV that he submitted to RMIT as part of the admission process. The CV is rife with falsehoods, misrepresentations, embellishment and fabrication and can be read, with annotations, here .

On his CV Earl lists his tenure at Ballarat School (an upscale private high school) as lasting four years, from 1964-1967. According to Ballarat administration, Earl arrived in 1966 and left during term two in 1967, less than two years and did not graduate. Earl's only other formal education seems to be several classes in Neuro-linguistic programming, a New Age self help activity and an introductory course in "Executive Coaching" from a commercial coaching school.

Earl has never earned an undergraduate or MA degree.

Here is Mr. de Blonville's thesis proposal at RMIT.

In addition to the embellishments and factually false items, the CV has three issues which apparently did not concern the admissions committee at RMIT:

1: The CV does not mention Earl's tenure at Rushmore University, three years earlier, completing a Ph.d for the same subject as his RMIT Ph.d. The CV mentions several programs that also were started but never happened. Why the omission of the Rushmore tenure?

2: The CV does not mention that Earl self-published his book, Seventh Journey, dealing with his own leadership evolution, in just a few hundred copies. No actual publishing house was interested in it, so Earl had to pay to publish out of his own pocket. A publishing house acts as a filter that protects consumers from misrepresentation. A publisher has their own reputation and even legal liability at stake when selecting a work to vet, edit, design and publish. In non-fiction (which Seventh Journey purports to be) one job of the publisher is to insure the accuracy of the facts and events portrayed, something that would involve corroboration from both knowledgeable people and with documents. A publishing house would have corroborated, for instance, elements of the story with actual members of the expedition. Without that critical element, an author is free to use "spin", alternative facts and unchecked hyperbole. In the case of Seventh Journey, Earl published the book himself, hiding that fact on his CV by using "Bear Books, a division of Bear Clan Pty Limited". "Bear Books" is literally, just a name owned by Earl. The book chronicled an expedition to Greenland that Earl led in 1986. None of the other participants on that expedition had any input on the book and none, as of this writing, have read the book. Several expedition members dispute the premise that Earl was an effective leader. The professional cinematographer hired to make the film, wrote his own book about his experience on the expedition and called Earl a "Walter Mitty". None of the expedition members came forward to endorse the book. Correspondence with Earl's RMIT advisor suggests that it was primarily on the strength of this self-published book that Earl was admitted in spite of having no traditional credentials. That same correspondence with Earl's RMIT faculty advisors suggests they were NOT aware that the book was self-published. In 2016 Earl de Blonville issued "Seventh Journey" with a new cover and name, "Savage Coast".

3: Two of the multi-year programs which Earl lists as recent achievements, Arctic Climate Leadership Challenge and ArcticExplorer simply never happened. They are literally just a couple of websites which tried to raise funds and failed. Again, these "Potemkin Programs" achieved nothing but are listed on the CV as lasting multiple years. Generally speaking a professional CV does not include all the big ideas you had which never came to fruition. If a CV does include a failed program, it is customary to note that it was an attempt that failed. Earl's CV makes no effort to clarify that the two Arctic programs never really happened. Listed on the CV, the programs would seem to lend credibility to Earl's claim to leadership acumen.

In spite of all this, Earl was admitted to the doctoral program at RMIT as an exception to all the normal requirements for a doctoral student.

To recap: no high school graduation, no undergraduate or graduate degrees, CV rife with falsehoods and embellishments, self-published story exhalting his leadership abilities, girlfriend in the department.

RMIT also awarded Earl an Australian tax-payer funded stipend, an APA, of approximately 50,000 AUD. These awards are meant to "Provide financial support to postgraduate students of exceptional research promise". The reader may be surprised to know that neither RMIT or the adminstration of the APA will confirm or deny who has received those tax-payer funds.

Earl continues to claim RMIT as his educational background on his LinkedIn page. It is unknown whether Earl is still registered as a student at RMIT. It is not known whether Earl's acceptance into the program at RMIT meant another more traditionally qualified candidate was turned away.

I have submitted these facts to the Academic Registrar's office at RMIT.

RMIT has refused to discuss the issue, citing student privacy laws. When asked for statisical information (frequency with which people are admitted to doctoral programs when lacking the standard requirements) RMIT simply stopped responding.

Documents obtained through the FOI process indicate that faculty were concerned about the evidence provided to RMIT, that investigation was suggested, that the Privacy Officer and RMIT legal offices were consulted. There were expressions of concern about safety on the campus.

Earl's LinkedIn page as of July 2014.

Earl's page.

RMIT does not respond to inquiries asking for confirmation of Earl's current student status.

A complaint to the Victoria State Ombudsman was kicked over to another arm of the Victorian government, the Anti-Corruption Commission to determine if I, the complaintant, should be given "whistleblower" status and attendant anonymity, something I never asked for or wanted. After a month languising with that department it was determinined that no right to anonymity was appropriate so it is now back with the Victoria State Ombudsman.

The complaint makes two points: That RMIT (a publicly funded institution) is a self-investigating organzation with the privacy law shield which would allow them to cover up embarrassing things like being fooled by a conman with bogus academic credentials and a girlfriend on the faculty. Second, Earl de Blonville received an APA government (taxpayer) funded stipend based on his acceptance to RMIT. Misrepresentation on the application for that stipend is both civilly and criminally punishable. Therefore, the complaint asks how the public can trust institutions like RMIT to self police and how the public can expect transparency in the matter of disbursing public funds for APAs. For instance, neither RMIT or APA administration will even confirm who has received tax payer funded stipends.

The Victoria Ombudsman provided the results of their response to my complaint in mid November, 2014. That response and my follow up email are here.