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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
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
“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,”
“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
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
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
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, 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.
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.
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.