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[casi] !OT - University split over decision to suppress article

Deal List,

Tom Nagy should not be surprised for being a victim of
censorship. The same censorship is applied in New
Zealand too...


University split over decision to suppress article
22 July 2003

A "book burning" scandal has erupted at Canterbury
University over an article on controversial Holocaust
scholar Joel Hayward.

A decision to recall and destroy copies of the history
department's journal History Now  and dump editor Ian
Campbell  is dividing the academic community.

Canterbury lecturer Thomas Fudge, who wrote the
offending article, has resigned in disgust and said he
planned to leave at the end of the year.

Dr Fudge told The Press he could not remain at a
university that suppressed academic freedom.

"It made me a hypocrite trying to teach my students to
think critically and ask the tough questions, all of
the academic values that universities are about, and
here my department was saying effectively we're going
to `burn books'."

The article revisits 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 Jews.

Questioned whether gas chambers were used
systematically to murder Jews in European
concentration camps.

Suggested 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 witchhunting, explored what for Hayward became a
career-ending controversy.

He revealed in the article that Dr Hayward has been
harassed and received death threats against his
children. Dr Hayward suffered an emotional breakdown,
and in June last year left his teaching post at Massey
University. He now cannot get a job.

Late last year, Dr Fudge says, a publishing firm
canned a book on New Zealand airmen that Dr Hayward
had co-edited "on account of the negative publicity
surrounding him".

A subsequent job ended the day it started, because
employing Dr Hayward was considered to be "a very
risky proposition", the article claimed.

Dr Fudge's article, The Fate of Joel Hayward in New
Zealand Hands: From Holocaust Historian to Holocaust?,
played on the title of the thesis, The Fate of Jews in
German Hands. The article appeared on May 6.

Next morning, Professor Campbell was asked to appear
before his editorial committee and history department
head Peter Hempenstall. Professor Campbell said he was
effectively pushed.

"The fact is that board disapproved of my editorial
decision and, as a result, I couldn't continue as

An embargo was slapped on the journal and 500 copies
recalled. Staff were later advised that copies of the
offending journal had been destroyed on the authority
of Professor Hempenstall.

Another May edition of History Now was printed without
the Fudge article and an editorial discussing truth
and martyrdom.

Professor Campbell said the university's reaction to
the History Now piece raised a central question: "Why
does someone think that this story is worth

"I think the publicity for everybody involved is going
to be costly. It's bad for everybody concerned and I
didn't want to see this happen."

On May 14, Dr Fudge defended his article and academic
freedom at a special meeting of history department
academics, calling the censorship "unconscionable".

Last week, he confirmed to his students that he had

He told them that suppressing the article contravened
the Education Act, which upholds the academic freedom
of university staff "to question and test received
wisdom, to put forward new ideas and to state
controversial or unpopular opinions".

Professor Hempenstall declined to speak to The Press,
saying the matter had now become an employment issue
between the university and Dr Fudge. The university's
human relations director, Bruce Jamieson, said he was
now investigating Dr Fudge's references to the
controversy in lectures.

He confirmed Vice-Chancellor Roy Sharp had
investigated the journal's withdrawal and upheld
Professor Hempenstall's decision. Professor Sharp was
unavailable for comment last night.

So too was Dr Hayward, who now lives in Palmerston

Many Canterbury students were "very agitated" by the
censorship move, Professor Campbell said.

One student told The Press that teachers should be
able to research and write about any issue  "even if
the subject is controversial, even if the truth may be
offensive to those who do not want to hear it".

Staff outside the history department were also
becoming aware of what had gone on.

"I would think that people will fall into two
categories; some will think it's a storm in a teacup
and others will say it's a matter of principle,"
Professor Campbell said.

A third group might say the department had no business
commenting on the Hayward issue.

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