In open e-mails to University administration, Sussex House has been accused of using “censorship” as part of a “cover-up operation” by a group representing the victims of Sussex postgraduate Erich Kofmel. The allegations come days after the publication of a report in Times Higher Education (THE), which has had a catalytic effect in reinvigorating the long-standing saga over Kofmel, who is alleged to have committed acts of financial fraud.
The group, who are said to represent around 100 people, were outraged in the aftermath of the THE report which revealed that whilst Mr. Kofmel continues to be “on the run” in mainland Europe, he remains able to access and use his University of Sussex e-mail account, despite the Vice Chancellor having declared otherwise to the same reporter months earlier.
It is claimed by the victim representation body that when attempts were made to question the VC and to promote the THE article, all e-mails addressed to University of Sussex email accounts were blocked due to be being placed on a University blacklist by the IT department, although reports of this are unconfirmed.
Mr Kofmel, who is due to obtain a PhD from the University later this year, has been no stranger to press coverage even prior to skipping Sussex Police bail in September 2008. In 2006, the national press reported Kofmel’s involvement in an alleged rent-theft con, whilst more recent coverage in The Badger and The Argus reported the May 2008 arrest of Kofmel over his supposed role in an internet-based holiday-home scam.
The most recent THE article reports that Mr. Kofmel is still working as an academic despite being a “wanted” man in the United Kingdom and Germany. This academic work includes the publication “Anti-Democratic Thought,” as well as regular posts on the political-theology.com blog dating as recently as March 9, the day of writing this piece.
‘The University of Sussex confirmed to The Badger that Mr. Kofmel is currently registered as a postgraduate student, but that he is in no capacity employed by the University’
Much of this academic work is produced at the Sussex Centre for the Individual (SCIS) and Society, which Mr. Kofmel himself co-established. Shrouded in controversy since its inception in 2006, the SCIS is said to be funded by “wealthy individuals” with an aim of studying against a wall of “government agenda.”
Based in the historical cottage close to the entrance of the Falmer Campus, the SCIS has itself been in the public eye in a number of unrelated issues. These have included being warned by the University of Sussex of falsely using a campus address and postcode when providing details for academic submissions. Mr. Kofmel’s co-founder of the centre has also publicly dissociated himself from Mr. Kofmel, as have a number of well-respected academics who have requested to be removed from the SCIS website.
Although it would appear that the University is yet to reply to the victim group, the University of Sussex has advised The Badger that whilst the details of individual students will not be disclosed, it can confirm that Mr. Kofmel is currently registered as a postgraduate student, but that he is in no capacity employed by the University. In addition to this, the University states, despite external claims by Kofmel, that the University shares no affiliations or campus space with the SCIS.