Finally, Ward Churchill’s lawsuit goes to court in 2009 (1.5)

Great news from How the university works that Ward Churchill’s very good case against the University of Colorado will go to court in early 2009, challenging the right wing witch hunt that unfairly targeted him and that stalks the 65% of faculty in the U.S. who are not tenured, or are not tenure-track. As laid out on that blog, and in many other writings, the charges against Churchill were nothing short of ludicrous and defamatory, and neither the investigating nor the appeal committees of UC felt that the extraordinarily minor items in question in Churchill’s writing merited dismissal. Hopefully this suit will teach the totalitarian hacks in charge of the University of Colorado a much needed lesson, not to mention the petty, pseudo-scholars that have tried to build their reputations by destroying Churchill’s. I encourage readers to visit the site of the Ward Churchill Solidarity Network as well, and to read the testimonies of the many internationally prominent scholars who have written in Churchill’s defense. To think that all of this began because of a mass mediated holy war in the U.S., fueled by outrage over Churchill’s piece, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens — still one of the most sober, best pieces of writing on “9/11” to have been written by an American author. Unfortunately for Churchill, at that time any public writing that did not toe the line of authorized sanctimony and repeat the third-grade sentimentality of so many public commentaries would necessarily turn Churchill into a target. What few cared to understand was the way that Churchill turned U.S. military and nationalist logic on its head, so that in their outrage Americans could begin to sense a little of what it felt like to be on the receiving end for a change. The only other “public” figure to have gained such notoriety because of remarks about the attacks was Obama’s Rev. Wright, for making the same argument using the same metaphor, which Malcolm X used to frame the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Churchill, Wright, and Malcolm X were all, of course, disowned and ostracized in the land that speaks of “freedom” as if it had invented the idea and had special rights to its meanings. (Luckily for Oprah Winfrey, few remember that almost immediately after “9/11” one of her shows was devoted to “root causes” and why the U.S. had provoked these attacks.)

12 thoughts on “Finally, Ward Churchill’s lawsuit goes to court in 2009 (1.5)

  1. john lyon

    I’m not a fan of ward churchill. But
    he does have a good legal case. I say
    just give him the whole university.
    All the decent professors should have
    resigned the first day he showed up.
    Bottom line is he’s just too irresponsible
    to be a professor. You could make
    a decent case to allow irresponsible
    people to remain as some form of
    affirmative action. But to say all the
    allegations against him are shakey IMO
    is having your head in the sand.

    After he wins and takes over the
    university he ought to admit all the
    stuff he’s lied about.

    Here’s a point that nobody seems to under
    stand here. If one states unpopular
    view or exposes a violent world view
    he cannot expect to be free from harsh
    public condemnation. There is no protection from this. I am not to be
    protected from Ward Churchill’s rants.

    Bottom line we’ll see what the court
    says unless they give him the University
    before the decision.

  2. Maximilian Forte

    Thanks John. I don’t think that I can argue his legal case, although it seems that at least one panel of his university did not agree with the basis for the decision to fire him.

    I have no problem with the idea that those who make harsh statements can expect to provoke harsh responses. That has been my case too. Although sometimes it’s the critic that gets criticized for having the temerity to criticize.

    The main point is that all of this would not have been started without political pressure to punish Ward for his 9/11 essay and similar writings. The principle at stake here is academic freedom, and the meaning of tenure. If tenure were to be under constant review and reexamination for everyone, then the concept would be meaningless. So there are much wider issues involved here that will matter even for academics who absolutely despise Ward.

  3. Pingback: Academic Freedom News: Ward Churchill, Joel Kovel « OPEN ANTHROPOLOGY

  4. Jim

    IMHO, Ward Churchill is a fake who thrives on sticking it to the establishment. He loves the attention, whether it is from those like me who are disgusted with him or from his moonie-like eyes glazed over followers. UC did the correct thing firing this fellow. As I understand it, the firing was not for his wacky views about 9/11, but for his lying about being native american and plagerism. Ward just needs to fade away. He will be and should be forgotten.

  5. Maximilian Forte

    Well I guess that settles it then, because with an opinion as informed, respectable and impartial as that of an authority such as Jim, there really can be no further argument.

    1. Jim

      Argue all you care to Max. I’m interested in seeing how creative you can be in defending the indian cheif wannabe.

      1. Maximilian Forte

        Hey, thanks for allowing me to argue, you know, on my own blog. How generous of you.

        The word is “chief” by the way, and the other thing you got wrong in your little piece of slander is that he never claimed to be a chief. “Indian wannabe,” when you examine the history of such assertions as closely as I have, and now you can rest assured that you are fully on my home turf, is almost invariably a racial or outright racist notion.

        So thank you for outing yourself so quickly, and please feel free to put your white sheet back on as you leave. You can take that burning cross with you.

  6. George

    Plagerism is rampant in academia. My girl-friend and I were graduate teaching assistants quite some time ago. We would conduct research and do much of the writing. But, at the end of the day, the professor for whom we were working, got his name attached to the paper. We got a high passing mark, continued employment and a nod from having him on our committees.

    1. Maximilian Forte

      This is something I have also heard happened, and those who related such stories to me did so with an air like that was normal, the convention, “What can you do?” and so forth. When I hear this it really lowers my estimation of the value of the academic who works in this manner — and when I see certain academics publishing one book per year, for many years without interruption, and have large teams of research assistants, I become very suspicious.

      1. George

        You will find good guys and bad guys everywhere, in all walks of life. Some academics work hard, make a significant contribution to the world and are decent people. Others are primarily self-serving. Many will spend their lives in the ivory tower because the real world bites. It’s easier to analyze from a safe and comfortable distance. Reading, writing, listening and participating in university stuff is more fun than dealing with the nuts and bolts of “normal” life. I’m not for or against Ward Churchill. He’s one of many. If 911 had never happened, he would have continued to remain underneath the radar. He apparently upset the powers that be in Boulder.

  7. Passie

    Something else to consider in this discussion is the very department where Ward was working. “Ethnic Studies, Native American Studies, Pan-African Studies, Chicano Studies and Women Studies” departments are all new appendages to the academic body. Bashing Ward into the ground is another way to discredit these recent affirmative action based departments.

    1. Maximilian Forte

      Exactly, and that is not by any means a stretch: anyone following the media commentary will see a repeated reference made by critics to, as they imagine it, the “discredited” nature of these programs. Both these study areas, and the idea of tenure, were conveniently targeted.

Comments are closed