Paul Greenfield, vice-chancellor of the University of Queensland, will stand down in the middle of next year after the unnamed relative was allegedly admitted to read medicine without meeting the full entry criteria.
His deputy, Michael Keniger, is also stepping down, the Australian media has reported.
However, while Professor Greenfield has accepted responsibility “as CEO” for a decision that “was inappropriate and benefited a close relative”, he insisted that it was “neither requested nor made by me”.
Instead, he claimed it was “the result of an unfortunate misunderstanding of a conversation and a breakdown in the normal checks and balances that control such decisions”.
Maurie McNarn, Queensland’s secretary, says in an email to staff that Professor Greenfield and Professor Keniger have “paid a high price over an irregularity that occurred in our admission procedure”.
“However, we cannot have one standard for some and a different one for others,” he adds.
“The issue clearly demonstrates a willingness, at great cost, to protect the integrity of our academic processes.”
Changes to tighten admission rules are due to go to the university’s senate on 8 December.