Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 20:33:51 -0700
From: David Rice
Subject: Morons in New Zealand

From: Patrick Ford
Subj: Morons in New Zealand

Today in New Zealand.

Hamilton: Small-medium city in dairy farming heartland. Uni. has a reputation for radical lecturers and conformist redneck students. (TRUE!) Located in central Gnaw-Thighland

NZ Herald Sept 25


copyright Philippa Stevenson and NZPA

(copied without permission - but that _doesn't_ mean you can)

HAMILTON - A group of Hamilton Mormon students at Waikato University have accused a historian of harassment after his lecture described their church as a cult and its founder as a fraudster.

The lecturer in American history, Dr Raymond Richards said his August lecture which he had given about six times before was orthodox history.

"I simply repeated what scholarship has revealed about Mormonism and apparently some students who are Mormons accused me of harassment," he said yesterday.

Dr Richards said he was confidant the formal complaint by seven of 120 students would be dismissed and "the University will uphold academic freedom and historical scholarship."

"Early American history taught by the Mormon church is not believed by any non-Mormon scholar in the world. It is purely a fairy tale."

He said the cult founder, Joseph Smith was a convicted fraudster who made unbelievable claims throughout his life.

An attempt to settle the dispute by the University mediator, Bethea Weir was unsuccessful and the complaint would be decided next week by the Vice-Chancellor, Brian Gould.

In a message to Dr Weir, Bethea Weir said the students' main complaint was that he treated the issue in a "manner which was insulting and derogatory and therefore discriminatory to their religion."

A Mormon church Spokeman, Tom Sutcliffe, said the church, whose New Zealand headquarters is in Hamilton was not involved in the complaint, which had been made by unknown individuals.

The church spokesman supported freedom of speech and members reacted no more to criticism of their beliefs than "does any Catholic who feels offended when the Pope is slurred.

But Dr Richards said the Mormon church had a record of trying to silence its critics and was constantly in trouble with the American Association of Universities for its infringement of academic freedom.

The President-elect of the Association of University Staff, Professor Jane Kelsey, said the case was an example of the mounting pressure on academic freedom in an increasingly intolerant New Zealand society.

"The understanding is that academics are experts in their are of teaching and research, and... convey information and its interpretation.

"That is the essence of academic is the right of the academic to make that informed judgement in whatever way they feel is appropriate


Let's see Dr Richards get into the Scientologists next!

That's about all that happened in NZ today apart fom some minor news like the economy collapsed again, people got murdered, a bank was robbed by a guy claiming to be wearing dynamite (this only a few hundred metres from ME!) and indigenous peoples' treaty tribunal members' homes raided by police, a dog dognapped from a woman's arms and a publican (bar owner) got a warning over patrons' public oral sex.

David Michael Rice
The world's second biggest glutton! (Next to Godzilla)


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