The Hero of Ward Churchill Dismissal Outrage Speaks Out: Cindy Carlisle

C.U. Regent Cindy Carlisle

The only regent of the University of Colorado who voted against the revocation of Ward Churchill’s continuous tenure (8-1) was Cindy Carlisle from Boulder. Regents in Colorado represent the seven Congressional districts and Ms Carlisle represents the 2nd Congressional District. Two are elected at large. She has now stated publicly that she believed the Regents went beyond what a faculty committee, Privilege and Tenure Committee, had recommended for punishment for alleged research misconduct. The committee recommended suspension and rank reduction but not dismissal. She should be lauded for her integrity, courage and heroism in resisting the pressures for political persecution and career destruction. Regents rarely vote against a university president or defy her or his will unless the president is the object of an investigation such as the one recently at Eastern Michigan University concerning a murder cover-up on campus. Ms Carlisle is obviously a woman of great character, tenacity and vision.

Ms Carlisle is serving a six year term that expires in January 2009. She earned an M.A. in English and a B.A. from the University of Colorado.

I might say, however, that even a suspension would have been in contravention of numerous A.A.U.P. documents that carefully delimit academic suspensions to circumstances, “if immediate harm to the faculty member or others is threatened.” The documents are the ninth “1970 Interpretive Comment” of the “1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure,” the “1958 Statement on Procedural Standards in Faculty Dismissal Proceedings” and the revised 1999 “Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure.”

The following is from the Summit Daily News link above:

Regent Cindy Carlisle, who cast the sole vote against termination, said Wednesday she felt the Regents should have accepted the advice of the last faculty committee to review the case, which recommended suspending Churchill for a year without pay and demoting him.

She also said the panel, the Privilege and Tenure Committee, had raised questions about three of the seven specific allegations against Churchill.

Asked whether she felt firing Churchill was unfair, she said: “I’m not going to characterize that. My vote speaks pretty strongly. I thought we should defer to the active faculty (the Privilege and Tenure Committee) for their recommendations for sanctions.”

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