The email stands for itself.
What is interesting in the reporting of this instance is that the New Zealand press and bloggers are implying that if the student had not been from the United Arab Emirates he may have been disciplined but not fired. From Scoop,the news media that says it "scooped" the story in the first place,
"Scoop understands the student was a United Arab Emirates national and in New Zealand on a student education visa. Scoop also understands the University of Auckland had received a degree of pressure from the student's family's networks that warned: should the University not act on the complaint then the UAE would send fewer students to New Zealand."
Now the offending email.
Subject: RE: Extension Date:
Wed, 30 May 2007 19:24:20
From: Paul Buchanan
To: Student Dear xxxx:
I say this reluctantly but not so subtly: you are not suitable for a graduate degree. It does not matter if your father died or if you have a medical certificate.
I have been too nice and given you too high marks all along (at C+). I do not anticipate that you will do better in the final exercise.
You are already a day late. The extension is meaningless because you have not attended the last few classes and are the worse performer in the class. Of course by a far stretch, You will have the obiturary of your father, but even if available and the student health people might have believed you, I do not.
You are close to failing in any event, so these sort of excuses-culturally driven and preying on some sort of Western liberal guilt-are simply lame. Prove that your father died and your were distraught and unable to complete assignments-in spite of your abysmal record to date as an underperforming and underquallifed student- and perhaps you might qualify for an extension to get a C-.
But as it stands, you will flunk since your are already a day+ late, and you trrack record is poor. By the way-are you a Hoadley student? That would explain a lot of things.
In a word: NO-I do not accept your extensuon request.
PGB Paul G Buchanan Director, New Zealand Centre for Latin American Studies (NZCLAS)
From the blog TUMEKE!
"Now Paul shouldn’t have said that, it was out of line and not fair, and certainly worth a written warning of some description from Auckland University, but seeing as the University makes over $160 million per year from foreign paying students and that the student in question is a well connected middle Eastern family with friends in high places, one can’t help but wonder if Pauls very well articulated opposition to America and America’s oil buddies in Iraq has more to do with this Character Assassination of a sacking. Funny how the University can continue to hire a climate denier like Chris de Freitas, yet one who criticizes American Foreign policy will find himself without a job for any fault."
The New Zealand Herald has a story with the headline: Palestinian link in lecturer's firing and Scoop, which says it broke the story in the first place has "testimonials" from outraged students and former students who are voicing their support for Buchanan.
'His dismissal was both unjustified and undesirable. I am not writing this simply because I like the man, enjoyed his classes, or have a bizarre hatred towards international students.
His dismissal is unjustified because the email - which, yes, I have read - does not reasonably contain grounds for dismissal and because he apologised for it one day later.
It is entertaining that the apology has not received the same sort of samizdat distribution as Paul's initial email (we also have not seen the student's extension request)."
Meanwhile, Buchanan is planning to fight his dismissal.
What do you think? Should the University have fired Buchanan?