UPDATED JULY 9, 2009
Professor Churchill won a wrongful termination suit which apparently was ignored by a hack judge Larry Naves. The jury verdict in April decided he was fired not for academic-research misconduct but for a fiery article published in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The judge did not even address substanitally the issue of academic freedom which was certainly a core issue in this inquisition. Academic freedom was eviscerated by both the University of Colorado and the criminal justice system despite a temporary lull in the inquisition with the courageous jury verdict and nominal award. The judge’s argumentation was that C.U. and Ward Churchill were irreconcilable and that his presence would contribute tension and disruption to the Boulder campus. This essentially gives a “hecklers’ veto” to the university. The issue is not one of equipoise but justice; the issue is not whether to tolerate only consensus academicians who teach without controversy but to permit critical thinking and even controversial pedagogy in the classroom; the issue IS whether a democratic society can tolerate a tenured faculty member at professor rank being fired for an article which attempted to balance the 9/11 fury at Al Qaeda with a call for introspection and the meaning of a glutinous, bureaucratic capitalism.
Persecuted Professor of Ethnic Studies Ward Churchill: denied academic freedom and 1st amendment protection of free speech.
When I was supended for an anti-infanticide email for referring to the military’s “baby-killing tactics of collateral damage,”–an accurate depiction of their mass murder I might add– I could have cared less whether the university wanted me to return or whether my reunion would be disruptive. Disruption is good for a university; chaos is purification when it leads to truth and justice. Calm normalcy is the poison of conformity and has no place in academia. My job was and is to teach history and political science and do it well without apologies or coercion in a nation that proclaims its love of democracy and free speech only when it suits its antidemocratic, war criminal ends. The case of Ward Churchill, despite his imperfections and egregious scholarly tactics, is proof that freedom of speech belongs to a narrow group of academic conformists who do not challenge the mantra of American exceptionalism.
Also I could care less whether Ward is an Anglo or Native American. Frankly folks can identify with whomever they wish. I think it salubrious that one would identify with a minority group as opposed to “passing.” Since all humans emanate from a common ancestor, there is probably a little biological corpus that we all share with one another.
DENVER (AP) — A judge has refused to reinstate a University of Colorado professor who was fired on plagiarism charges after he likened some Sept. 11 terrorist attack victims to a Nazi leader.
If it stands, Tuesday’s ruling means Ward Churchill cannot return to the classroom even though a jury ruled in April that his firing was politically motivated.
Churchill wrote an essay after the 2001 attacks calling the World Trade Center victims “little Eichmanns,” a reference to Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann.
The university fired Churchill in 2007 on the plagiarism charges and other research misconduct allegations. None of the allegations were about the Sept. 11 essay.
Churchill’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call. University officials say they would issue a statement later.
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