The former dean of arts at the University of Melbourne, Professor Stuart Macintyre, has launched an extraordinary attack on his successor, Professor Mark Considine, accusing him of deliberately misrepresenting the state of the faculty's finances.

The late-night missive, sent early yesterday to all faculty of arts staff and obtained by Crikey, accuses Professor Considine of "retrospective falsification" over alleged structural deficits during Professor Macintyre's stint as dean between 1999 and 2006. The claims have appeared in Professor Considine's "Dean's Message" and in university marketing material.