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Leaked documents reveal thesis fighting

Leaked documents reveal thesis fighting

Academics “talked of withdrawing from postgraduate supervision.”

By Joshua Drummond - Nexus

Documents leaked to Nexus provide evidence of internal disagreement and fighting over the controversial van Leeuwen thesis.

Graduate student Roel Van Leeuwen’s Master’s thesis, Dreamers of the Dark: Kerry Bolton and the Order of the Left Hand path, a Case-study of a Satanic-Neo-Nazi synthesis was abruptly removed from the Waikato University library and online publishing repository in September last year, after former National Front Secretary Kerry Bolton complained to the University.

The removal drew criticism from students, academics and mainstream media for not informing van Leeuwen or his supervisors and impinging on academic freedom.

The thesis was last week returned to the University library and website after Vice-Chancellor Roy Crawford sent Bolton a letter saying that “after careful consideration, the University has found that the thesis is worthy of the award of a Master's degree,” and that “the process of supervision and examination were sound.”

van Leeuwen told the Waikato Times he was glad his work had been vindicated.

But documents leaked to Nexus show the process of review was far from smooth.

They indicate that the process entailed several different reports with various authors. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Doug Sutton, who was in charge of the review, recommended that the thesis be downgraded from First Class Honours, although he said it still deserved a passing grade.

Additionally, Sutton said that because supervisor Dov Bing had “well known and longstanding views against Neo-Nazi groups,” there was a possible conflict of interest.

van Leeuwen and key staff involved with the thesis were also barred from viewing some finished reports. van Leeuwen became so frustrated with the process at one point during this year that he sought legal advice on suing the University.

The disagreements led to the secretary of the Tertiary Education Union, Sharn Riggs, sending a letter to Professor Crawford, saying that Waikato University staff were talking of withdrawing from postgraduate supervision because their jobs were not safe, and that Sutton’s reports impinged on academic freedom.

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