Thursday, July 24, 2003

Burned books: I smell a rat

Part II of Dr Fudge's suppressed article.

The main thrust of it seems to be that the committee of investigation set up by the university to look into Joel Hayward's thesis was one-sided and biased, and the subsequent endorsement of it by the history department a rubber-stamp by people who didn't want to offend the university. It's obviously highly critical - which may be why the university didn't want it published - but the more I look at it, the more I smell a rat. Googling around shows that Fudge has been at Canterbury since 19951, which means he was probably involved in the very events he is reporting on. Needless to say, this puts a substantially different cast on things. Instead of "PC university suppresses truth-seeking academic", the whole thing - the article and its suppression - is part of one of those bitchy little intra-departmental fights which is so common in academia.

That doesn't make the article's suppression any better of course - criticism of university authorities is also covered by academic freedom - but with the way academic egos work, it makes the university's excuse of fearing a libel suit substantially more plausible. I guess the university didn't feel that it was necessary to mention that any such suit was likely to be brought by one of its own staff...

Of course, all of this is pure speculation - but if any of you readers down there at Canterbury want to fill me in on the details, please drop me a line.

1 There's a throwaway reference in this article, at the end of the ninth paragraph. Canterbury's departmental bios are rather uninformative, unfortunately.