Monday, June 26, 2006

University Of Colorado Finally Resolves The Churchill Farce

UPDATE: "[Interim Chancellor] Phil DiStefano recommended that Prof. Ward Churchill be terminated as a staff member at CU." Emphasis added and joy taken. Here's the link.

UPDATE 2: If the whole case upsets you, perhaps relax with a little fairly tale.

UPDATE 3: Pirate Ballerina has a post up, and provides this link to the university announcement.

UPDATE 4: HotAir has a brief post.

UPDATE 5: Elephants in Academia covers the story, as does, in its own inimitable way, DailyKos.

UPDATE 6: Ed Driscoll is skeptical until Churchill is officially dismissed: Churchill still gets a hearing before he's gone for good.

UPDATE 7: Daily Pundit speculates on Churchill's next stop.

UPDATE 8: From Sanctuary Blog, this gem: "University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill ain't got the wampum cred to keep his teepee."

Plus, some more media reports: FoxNews (AP), 1010WINS, Denver ABC7 News.

UPDATE 9: Drunkablog has a bunch of good stuff: a link to the audio of the news conference, a liveblog of a radio interview with Chancellor DiStefano, and some comments from Churchill's lawyer.

He also has a kind reminder for yours truly: Churchill still has an appeal before he's officially gone, so re: the "Farce" in my title, he comments sagely, "there's still a whole lot of clowns crammed in that little car."

The problem is this. As Pirate Ballerina puts it, the "burlesque" is not over. From the news conference:

[...L]et me briefly explain the process as we go forward. Professor Churchill may request within 10 days to have President Brown or me forward this recommendation to the Faculty Senate Committee on Privilege and Tenure. If Professor Churchill does so, a special panel will then conduct hearings about this matter and make a recommendation to the president about whether the grounds for dismissal are supported.

When I initially read this, my thought was that any further hearings would be a formality. With six of nine memebers on the Standing Committe recommending outright dismissal, the remaining three recommending at least suspension wiithout pay, and the chancellor recommending dismissal, any hearing would likely not go in Churchill's favor. But commenter Noj at Pirate Ballerina points out that the Privilege and Tenure Committee's rules allow them to throw out the Standing Committee's findings and launch a whole new investigation. If that is true, then this is not like a normal legal appeal, where the court accepts the facts and only reviews the application of the law, but potentially a de novo review that in theory Churchill could survive.

Oh well, the chancellor's decision is still good news, if not quite the end of the line.

UPDATE 10: Little Green Footballs has a brief post followed by numerous comments. One commenter has quite generously found a job posting for which Mr. Churchill might actually be qualified.

At Outside The Beltway, James Joyner comments:
While I strongly disagreed with some of my conservative colleagues who thought Churchill should have been fired for some of his outrageous political statements, and am a bit queasy that those controversies led to the investigation of the misconduct for which Churchill has now been fired, I nonetheless agree with DiStefano’s call here. Indeed, Churchill’s transgressions are quite severe and he has no place on a university campus.

I think the "queasiness" is a little misplaced: had Churchill had any virtues as a scholar he would have survived the investigation. Having no such virtues, he could not survive the scrutiny of the spotlight he sought.

I also do not think academic freedom should be used to dsicourage the public from reading an academic's work and, finding it wanting in some way [NOTE: or more precisely, some scholarly way], complaining to that academic's university. If the university decides the complaints have merit, academic freedom should not shield an academic from a responsible investigation such as the one undertaken by CU's Standing Committee.

UPDATE 11: Here's a full article from the Denver Channel, and the official statement from Chnacellor DiStefano. Meanwhile, Drunkablog has found a lefty who's gone a little hysterical over all this.

UPDATE 12: So I finally got around to actually reading the Denver Channel article and apparently Churchill won't be appealing the chancellor's recommendation to the tenure committee. So he's really out:
"We're going to a real court because we can trust juries to do the right thing," said Churchill's attorney David Lane. "Churchill says this all completely bogus. Let's see if a jury and a Federal District Court agrees with the committee. Or see if everything that's happened here is retaliation for Ward Churchill's First Amendment free speech relating to 9/11."

UPDATE 13: Marathon Pundit discusses Churchill and his connection to DePaul University: he got $5,000 to speak at the DePaul Student Activities Center. He makes this point:
And this is the third time I'm going to bring this up, but my point is--in my opinion--so valid that I have to press it one more time.

When is DePaul University going to apologize to the DePaul Conservative Alliance for the mistreatment it foisted upon this decent group of students when they tried to protest Churchill's paid appearance at the Chicago Catholic school?

He links to a page at FIRE that outlines the treatment he refers to, and also has this link to the DePaul Conservative Alliance.

UPDATE 14: Tracked back to Open Trackbacks - Wacademic Edition at Pursuing Holiness. The post also has links showing the attitude some faculty at CU had about this whole investigation: to summarize, they resented the idea that a non-academic might check their work.


The interim chancellor at the University of Colorado will announce today whether Ward Churchill will be fired.

That it has taken 17 months to review the egregious work of Ward Churchill and come to a decision on his status is an indictment of the academy's ability to police itself. 17 months is far too long a time to study work that an independent committee ultimately found so thoroughly wanting for quality. Failings as grandiose as Churchill's should have been noticed long ago.

Churchill produced his shoddy work and it was reviewed and published, but no one saw fit to question his character and ability as a scholar until outside forces demanded it. Under a spotlight, his work was found to be mendacious and unscholarly, but that was the case long before he caught the general public's attention.

Updates will follow once the chancellor's decision has been released. The various findings on Churchill's work can be found here.

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