by Dr K. R. Bolton
The so-called university enquiry into the Roel Van Leeuwen thesis Dreamers of the Dark has taken almost a year, including 5 months that Vice Chancellor Roy Crawford sat on a report in deliberation. His decision was suppsoed to be out in 2 weeks, but was delayed because of ‘unexpected complexities’ which have still not being explained.
Crawford’s decision consists of a one page letter stating that he is satisfied – after ‘careful consideration’ – that all processes were followed properly in awarding Van Leeuwen 1st Class Honours. He has told the Waikato Times that Waikato University has a ‘rigorous’ thesis research process.
Crawford states that the deciding factor, after nearly a year, was that the thesis was graded by two ‘well qualified academics’. Why did it take 5 monthe for him to come up with this, if the matter was so simple.?
Crawford mentions nothing about the enquiry process, or the manner in which my 100 plus pages of documentation proving that Van Leeuwen is inept and dishonest, and my multiple questions, were dealt with. He states nothing about the public availability of such a report. He states nothing about my complaint regarding the conduct of co-superviser Dov Bing, although I was told by Gillian Spry Lawyer that this was to be dealt with by the enquiry.
The thesis is now back in the public domain and will be back on the Australasian Digital Thesis Database.
TheVan Leeuwen thesis has now become part of the corpus of scholarly references. Now students and researchers will be able to cite Van Leeuwen as an authortitive source for my having written many publications that I did not write, some of which I’ve still not been able to locate. I can now be falsely cited as a ‘leader’ of groups with whose association was brief where at all. Researchers in regard to religion will now be able to cite Van Leeuwen in stating that ‘brown skinned men’ (which in the NZ context can only mean Maori/Polynesians) were not admitted into the Mormon priesthood until 1978.
Van Leeuwen has set a scholarly precedent for new methods of thesis writing:
1. The Van Leeuwen Method of Writing Style Comparisons, in which an individual can be identified as multiple individuals, and wrongly cited as to authorship. Anything goes.
2. The Van Leeuwen Method of Referencing, where the writer only need refer to sources in a vague manner, such as “Archives”. Anything goes.
3. The Van Leeuewen Lexicon of Political Science, where kulturkampf and realpolitik can be defined as ‘no bullshit’ and ‘hardcore’ and traced to ‘nazi aesthetics’. Anything goes.
4. The Van Leeuwen Method of Document Interpretation, where a publication can be interpreted in any way that suits the purposes of the researcher. Anything goes.
5. The Van Leeuwen Method of Not Referencing, where claims can be made as fact without any attempt at referencing whatsoever. However those unreferenced claims can in turn be used by future students who need only cite Van Leeuwnen as the reference. Nuts. Anything goes.
Accoridng to precedent set by Waikato University, exactitude and care in thesis and peer reviewed papers are no longer required.
My challenege as to what exactly the examiners checked in regard to references stands unanswered. From my own scholarly experience in writing peer reviewed publications I know how carefully genuine scholars scholars check references. One recent e.g. was a paper on Russo-Chinese relations I submitted for peer review, the editor (a scholar of genuine eminence) questioned my oversight in not referencing the city location of a New Zealand newspaper. Yet vague references to uncheckable “Archives” (sic) in the Van Leeuwen thesis are considered of sufficient scholarship by the ‘two well qualified academics’ who themselves should be investigated for inepitude.
The whole thing is a scandal and a disgrace, but something on which the news media is too banal to follow up.
Despite Crawford’s arrogant statement that the matter is now closed, it is far from over. There are too many unresolved questions, and these will be proceeded with via channels external to the corrupt University.
Crawford’s letter follows:
30 June 2009
Dear Mr Bolton
Complaint regarding W R Van Leeuwen Thesis
In response to your letter of 25 August 2008 and your subsequent corespondence, the University has carried out an investigation into whether or not the University’s regulations, policies, processes and guidelines were adhered to in relation to the thesis, and whether or not the thesis was of an adequate standard to be passed.
The investigation has taken longer than anticipated but it was essential that the process carried out in considering your complaint, was fair to the student and to the staff concerned.
After careful consideration, the University has found that the thesis is worthy of the award of a Master’s degree.
As a result of the investigation, the University has found that the process of supervision and examination were sound. Of particular note is the fact that the thesis was subject to examination by two academics external to the University who were well qualified to examine it, both of whom judged it to be at the standard of a 1st Class Honours degree.
Therefore, the University finds no grounds for upholding the substantive complaints brought by you. Accordingly, the thesis will be placed back for public access in the Library and on the ADT database.
I now regard this matter as closed and will not be entering into any further correspondence in relation to this matter.