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Christchurch, New Zealand, August 19, 2003
leader's job under threat
By ANNA CLARIDGE
THE position of Canterbury
University Vice-Chancellor Roy Sharp will be
reviewed after a complaint over his handling of
what some regard as a book-burning scandal.
History lecturer Thomas Fudge has made a
formal complaint against Professor Sharp, claiming
he mismanaged the issue and suppressed academic
University spokesman Jeff Field said last
night that Chancellor Robin Mann had ordered
the vice-chancellor's employment committee to
review Professor Sharp's position.
The committee would report back to a full
university council meeting on Wednesday next
Dr Fudge claims Professor Sharp gave "false and
misleading" statements to the media, and wilfully
suppressed academic freedom.
In May, the university
ordered copies of the history department's
journal, History Now, which contained a
controversial article by Dr Fudge, to be
Last week Dr Fudge wrote to the university
council with three complaints over the issue.
He said the Vice-Chancellor had badly mismanaged
the controversy "to the extent of bringing serious
and sustained disrepute on the university" and had
behaved in an inconsistent manner.
Dr Fudge said his academic freedom had been
violated and he had been directed not to comment on
the matter in lectures.
The two-page letter, detailing Dr Fudge's
concerns, also suggested council members should
consider Professor Sharp's "continuation as
The article revisited the firestorm that
surrounded the 1993 Masters
thesis of former Canterbury student Joel
Hayward, which questioned the validity of
Holocaust history. The thesis:
- Questioned whether Hitler personally
ordered the physical extermination of the
- Questioned whether gas chambers were used
systematically to murder Jews in European
- Suggested that while millions of Jews had
died at the hands of the Nazis, it was
impossible to know how many.
Dr Fudge, who lectures on medieval
religious dissent and
witch-hunting, explored what for Hayward
became a career-ending controversy.
He revealed in the article that Dr Hayward had
been harassed and had received death threats
against his children. Dr Hayward suffered an
emotional breakdown, and in June last year left his
teaching post at Massey University.
Dr Fudge's article,
The Fate of Joel Hayward in New Zealand
Hands: From Holocaust Historian to
Holocaust? was pulled from the magazine in May
The man behind the controversy, Joel Hayward,
said yesterday he felt it was inappropriate to
comment, and the matter was best dealt with by the
"But what I would say is that Dr Fudge is a
great asset to the university and I would hate to
see him leave as he has promised to do.
"It will be the students who suffer."
Our dossier on the Joel
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
at heart of 'book burning' row | 'Book-burners'
feared libel suit
Joel Hayward thesis: 'The
Fate of Jews in German Hands' (zip
Fate of Joel Hayward in New Zealand Hands: From
Holocaust Historian to Holocaust? Part I |
threats and breakdowns - the Holocaust thesis
destroyed my life