Friday, March 25, 2005

Churchill Keeps Job, Is Still a Nutcase

Well, the University of Colorado has decided to keep Ward Churchill on its teaching staff as reported here.

Their preliminary report found that while "crude and strained," Churchill's comparison of Sept. 11 victims to a top Nazi is protected by the First Amendment as are any calls he made for violence against the United States.

First let me say I’m a big supporter of free speech. Clamping down on disturbing speech doesn’t shut down the ideas behind that speech. So, let the idiots spout—if nothing else, they’re easier to identify that way.

But does the fact that Churchill has a right to speak mean he has a right to teach at a large, public institution?

For any of you who think Churchill’s ideas aren’t all that crazy, or that the 9/11 screed was not indicative of this man’s ideas, read this interview from a year ago with the radical animal-rights/environmental magazine Satya.

Amongst many gems, Churchill says:

One of the things I’ve suggested is that it may be that more 9/11s are necessary.

How about this:

I want the state gone: transform the situation to U.S. out of North America. U.S. off the planet. Out of existence altogether.

He goes on to suggest the U.S. be broken up into 500 different indigenous nations.

Churchill says he’s never fashioned himself as a revolutionary (although the photo on the Satya site would indicate otherwise). But what he says borders on advocating revolution. Now, advocating revolution isn’t protected by the First Amendment. Fortunately for Churchill, he’s not actually calling for an uprising, so he’s still free to speak his infuriating thoughts. But I guarantee there are those out there who would think an arrest for treason would not be a bad idea—and they’d have the beginnings of a case.

Does this guy deserve a tenured position at a public university? At any university? I think not. There is a place in this country for all ideas, but that doesn’t mean all ideas are considered valid enough to be taught to our students. Academic freedom is vital but that doesn’t mean every academic is guaranteed a tenured professorship and a $95,000 salary (the amount Churchill is paid for his “contributions” to CU). No university would hire a neo-nazzi “academic” who taught his students that racial purity was essential to the nation. So why should CU suffer an academic who openly hopes for another 9/11 and thinks the U.S. should be removed from the planet?

Churchill is now under investigation by CU for, among other things, plagiarism, lying about his ethnic heritage and, my favorite, fabricating historical facts in his research. This guy’s entire reality is fabricated. I understand that it’s easier to scale Mt. Everest without gear than fire a tenured professor. But, really, Ward Churchill is not adding anything to the intellectual vitality of the CU campus. Colorado University should cut him loose and never look back.


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