http://www.newsroom.canterbury.ac.nz University releases Report by the Joel Hayward Working Party The University of Canterbury has apologised to the Jewish Community through the New Zealand Jewish Council for the hurt caused by a 1993 Master's thesis by Joel Hayward entitled "The Fate of the Jews in German Hands." The University of Canterbury takes responsibility for its acceptance of this flawed thesis, and for the consequences, and unreservedly apologises to the Jewish community for the understandable upset it has caused. "From the moment the matter was first drawn to my attention earlier this year I was most concerned and my personal view then was that an apology was required. But as Vice-Chancellor I first had to wait for the independent review process to be carried out. Only in this way could we ensure that the different parties were treated fairly and their rights respected," the Vice-Chancellor Professor Daryl Le Grew said. "We are currently talking constructively to members of the Jewish community and the Jewish Council about what we can do to make amends," he said. "I want to make it perfectly clear, and I say this with absolute confidence: the University of Canterbury does not support holocaust revisionism and the University does not harbour anti-Semitic feeling. The Working Party Report backs this up. "Over a long period of time the University of Canterbury has welcomed Jewish scholars and has provided a safe haven for scholars like Sir Karl Popper and others. There are Jewish scholars at the University at the moment and every year our Erskine Foundation and other endowments sponsors visits by Jewish and other scholars across the University. Our own scholars are welcomed into Jewish centres of learning around the world." The published thesis and degree conferred The Working Party Report, adopted by Council, is an open and thorough academic review. It has found, and the Council has accepted, that the thesis did not deserve the highest accolade of first class honours. Rather, it should have been revised and resubmitted. But the Report also concludes that, while it demonstrated faulty research and lack of judgement, the thesis was not dishonest. This means that neither the thesis nor the degree can be amended, removed, downgraded or altered. This is what the law says," Professor Le Grew said. "But we will make sure that this Working Party report is bound with the Hayward thesis so that the two documents will always be read in tandem. We are also doing our best to send the report to all those websites displaying the Hayward thesis and are asking them to include the report with it. Our own website - www.newsroom.canterbury.ac.nz - will display the addendum to the thesis and the Working Party Report together for the next few months. "The University agrees that it should not have accepted the thesis towards an MA without far more scrutiny than was the case. The reasons for this are clearly outlined in the Report. Had the thesis been mooted today it would have been subjected to improved departmental and university processes," he said. "As the Working Party Report says, informal procedures might have sufficed in the past but a modern university requires greater accountability and higher standards of supervision, recording of student progress and supervision," he said. Cost to the University Professor Le Grew said that the cost to the University of the Hayward thesis Working Party Report and associated legal advice would be between $150,000 and $0,000. "The costs have been very hard to bear when the University is having to cut back on its budgets for next year by up to 3%," he said. "However, this was not something we could ignore. We have to maintain the reputation for internationally recognised scholarship that the University has painstakingly built up over more than a century. Academic standards and reputations are at the heart of the University's work. The expenditure has enriched our systems, our standards and our academic process," he said. "We could not stand by and let our University suffer from constant criticism and controversy. We had to take action. Commissioning an independent report was agreed by the Council as being the best solution." Changes to University Processes Over the past few years a detailed process for checks and balances has been put in place to ensure that all research and academic endeavour follows proper and ethical guidelines. Departments now have post-graduate co-ordinators and committees for considering topics and supervisors and improved performance monitoring Ethics committees are operational and the Dean of Post-Graduate Studies and the Academic Administration Committee are central monitors of process. Not all of these committees or appointments were in place in the early 1990s. This year, the University carried out an audit of randomly selected History Department theses written around the same time as the Hayward thesis and has had their grades independently audited. The audit confirmed the grades awarded which demonstrates that the Hayward thesis is an isolated incident and the University's reputation for scholarship retains its international quality. The Embargo The embargo, which ultimately lasted for seven years, was unusual and should never have been allowed to go on for so long. It again demonstrates that the University's processes were far from adequate then. Among the reasons given were that some people were fearful of harassment if it were to be published. But it should not have been for more than two years and it should never have been extended. An embargo can be requested, and is perfectly acceptable for a very short period of time if, for example the thesis or part of it is about to be published elsewhere, or if something commercial is involved in the research and publication by the University would affect this. Either way the upper limit is now two years, and an embargo will only happen with the prior approval of the Dean of Post-Graduate Studies. The University has recently formed a policy on the placement of embargoes to prevent this happening again. Academic Freedom The recommendations and conclusions of the Working Party Report, and the University's subsequent apology and acceptance of responsibility, in no way impinge on academic freedom. To argue for academic freedom on the basis of this thesis is not sustainable. The Working Party points out that the freedom to express unpopular and controversial views is crucial but must be based on sound research. Unfortunately, this thesis is flawed, its methodology is dubious and its conclusions do not stand up to the weight of evidence. Academic freedom gives our students - and the students at any university in the world - the right to study whatever topic they choose. But their study must follow the right processes and checks and balances, and we must have supervisors with appropriate expertise and skill in the area of study selected. The Supervisor as Examiner This is something that we have been looking at, along with other New Zealand universities. Quite independent of this issue, we have just undertaken a research audit at the University. Among other things, it looked closely at the research processes at masterate and doctorate level. I'm aware that, for example, Otago University has changed the examination procedure so that the supervisor is not normally the internal examiner. Other universities, including Canterbury, have not yet adopted such a change. But we are looking at it right now with a view to change. The University has also been involved in a survey of post-graduate students which has pointed out that there are still some anomalies in the system and not all post-graduates are happy with their supervision. This is again something to be look at more closely in the new year by the Post-Graduate Committee and the Dean of Post-Graduate Studies. The Supervision of the Hayward thesis has been criticised by the Working Party Report and it is once again an example of how inadequate the University's processes were. We should have had processes in place then to support the supervisor and Joel Hayward in their endeavour. Records Management The Working Party Report criticises the University for not keeping records of the processes followed at the time the Hayward thesis was being supervised and produced eight or more years ago. Again, the University did not have policies or processes in place at the time on the keeping of records and we are looking carefully at the overall management of our University records now, to rectify the situation.
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