A Review of the Case of Hans Joachim Kupka
By Mr Bill Renwick
The Chancellor's letter of apology to the Jewish Community
8 October 2002
An Open Letter to the Jewish Community
I have now received a copy of the Report prepared by Mr William Renwick on the matter of Hans Joachim Kupka's doctoral candidature and the consequent issues and dissent surrounding that candidature. I find the Report detailed, comprehensive and helpful in elucidating the difficulties which developed and the extreme distress caused to so many. I am happy to accept Mr Renwick's Recommendations and shall endeavour to implement them.
On behalf of the University of Waikato I make an unreserved apology to the Jewish community of New Zealand, and to others affected, for the pain and anguish that Jews suffered in the course of Mr Kupka's doctoral candidature. I regret profoundly the effect on Jewish cultural sensitivity of Mr Kupka's racist, anti-Semitic and Holocaust - denying political opinions which he expressed publicly on the internet.
It is now apparent that such opinions impinged on perceptions of Mr Kupka's research, and Mr Renwick has made a number of useful recommendations regarding University process which would ensure that such events do not occur again.
The need to develop a consultative relationship with the Jewish community as a whole, and with Jewish staff and students in the University, must be addressed and I would be happy to meet with key people to discuss ways of moving forward in this regard. The development of policy for consulting the preferences and sensitivities of social and cultural groups in the University is an important point made by Mr Renwick, and at this time the focus must be on the need to create dialogue with the Jewish community.
Another important area to be addressed is the development of policy and review of internal processes to ensure that the work of various committees within the University is much more effectively integrated. A substantial amount of work has already been done and this is on-going. The manner in which complaints to Council are handled is one area requiring attention, as are the reporting relationships between Council, Academic Board and Management.
The past years during which we have been concerned with the issues arising from Mr Kupka's Ph.D. proposal have caused deep division within the University and the wider community. I regret very much the hurt suffered by so many people who have acted on strong principle for what they believe in. It is essential that we now work to repair relationships and I hope to contribute to the development of reconciliation processes to achieve this.