On 7 April 2009, the National Council of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) supported Ward Churchill’s pursuit of reinstatement at the University of Colorado (CU). The AAUP approved the following resolution:
“We believe the disputes over Ward Churchill’s publications should have been allowed to work themselves out in traditional scholarly venues, not referred to disciplinary hearings. We believe Churchill should be reinstated to his faculty position at the University of Colorado.”
This is in fact a position that is more in line with what is once again a growing academic consensus that normal academic fora are the best way to address disagreements over research, rather than have committees, charged with the ultimate intention of “disciplining” an academic decide on what is the single truth and the only methodology by which to arrive at it.
That the decision to investigate Churchill’s record for any “misconduct” was politically motivated, and thus part of a premeditated effort to expel Churchill, has been definitively settled by a fair and independent jury. That there should ever have been any doubt about this is quite bewildering given the following statements made to Bill O’Reilly on Fox “News.” The first if from Phil Campos, a CU law professor who took it upon himself to lead a public demonization campaign against Churchill, because his patriotic and nationalist sensitivities had been clearly hurt by Churchill:
CAMPOS: Well, that’s being looked into right now, and rightfully so. My position on this from the beginning has been that that that 9/11 essay was so appalling that it should have led to an investigation of what other things this person was saying…and whether they brought into question his professional competence. (source)
And of course former Colorado Governor Bill Owens:
O’REILLY: One more question for you. You have basically a strategy, and I want to get this right. You’re not going to pay him off, so he’s not going to get the big bucks. You’re going to go through the lengthy process to prove that he did something that you can legitimately fire him [for], and then he goes — “See you.”
OWENS: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. That process is starting. I think it will ultimately result in him being fired. (source)
It should also be noted that the AAUP as the leading representative academic body in the U.S. has consistently defended Ward Churchill’s right to free speech, and criticized CU for its actions against Ward Churchill (see here and here), which it rightly saw as politically motivated (well before a jury finally confirmed that as a fact). These facts are generally lost in the tightly wound whorls of the hate blogosphere, and among some bottom-rung academics who have tried to score career points by attacking Churchill’s record because they cannot stand Indians talking back and reclaiming their history. Thankfully, some people push back, people like Churchill in fact.