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flag A heads up for Down Under: for readers in Australia and NZ

New Zealand Herald

Thursday, August 28, 2003


Lecturer warns he will stay at university to battle for academic freedom

HISTORY lecturer Thomas Fudge last night warned that he may stay at Canterbury University to "battle out" his fight over academic freedom.

Last night, the university's council dismissed his formal complaint over Vice-Chancellor Roy Sharp's handling of the furore over an article Dr Fudge wrote for the university journal, History Now.

READERS should be aware that the New Zealand journalist Philip Matthews who may contact them about Dr Hayward is working for the newspaper The Listener, and writing on behalf of a special interest group which is trying to destroy Dr Hayward's career.

The article revisited the controversy that surrounded the 1993 masters thesis of former Canterbury student Joel Hayward, which questioned the validity of Holocaust history.

Dr Fudge had threatened to resign after the university ordered the destruction of copies of the journal in May, but now says he may reverse his decision and stay.

"If they think this is the end of it, I can assure the chancellor, the vice-chancellor and the council it's not," he said before giving a public lecture on the journal controversy in Christchurch last night.

"Maybe ... I won't resign after all and will stay on to give them 30 years of grief."

Dr Fudge, yet to give formal notice of leaving at the end of the year, has consulted a lawyer about the handling of his complaint and will meet his lawyer again today to initiate legal action against the university.

"I intend to pursue this," he said.

The university's council, which also sought legal advice over the complaint, considers the matter closed.

After meeting for more than an hour behind closed doors last night, council members unanimously reaffirmed their full confidence in Professor Sharp.

Members considered the advice of the vice-chancellor's employment committee and resolved that circumstances did not reveal any action or failure to act by Professor Sharp that failed to protect, promote or enhance academic freedom.

They also resolved that the vice-chancellor's instruction to Dr Fudge that his lectures were not the place to air his private dispute with colleagues did not impinge on his freedom of expression.

Council members also condemned the release of Dr Fudge's letter of complaint to the media as "most improper".

Earlier in the meeting, Chancellor Robin Mann criticised The Press newspaper, saying its August 19 article about the complaint was irresponsible and possibly defamatory.

This week, senior academics from several universities took out a $1,200 advertisement containing 63 signatories from New Zealand and overseas. It accused Canterbury of acting improperly in endorsing a review of the thesis.




Our dossier on the Joel Hayward case | Our dossier on Professor Richard "Skunky" Evans 
Canberra MP Rodney Hide signs petition calling on University to recompense Joel Hayward
July 2003, NZ Herald: "Holocaust thesis ruined my life says historian"
Report of the Working Party established by University of Canterbury to Inquire into Hayward Case | summary
Holocaust scholar at heart of 'book burning' row | 'Book-burners' feared libel suit
Joel Hayward thesis: 'The Fate of Jews in German Hands' (zip file)
The Fate of Joel Hayward in New Zealand Hands: From Holocaust Historian to Holocaust? Part I | Part II
Death threats and breakdowns - the Holocaust thesis destroyed my life
Aug 19, 2003: University chief's job in doubt. The position of Canterbury (NZ) University Vice-Chancellor Roy Sharp to be reviewed after Hayward scandal
Richard J. Evans: Academic standards the issue, not freedom | Joel Hayward replies, reminds readers that Evans was highly paid to destroy him
Lecturer warns he will stay at university to battle for academic freedom
The petition (pdf, 56K)
© Focal Point 2003 e-mail:  write to David Irving