Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Case Against Ward Churchill

Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman lay out the most succinct case I have seen thus far that Ward Churchill should be fired. In this editorial in the Rocky Mountain News, we are presented with the following bill of particulars:

Churchill stands credibly accused of ethnic fraud, grade retribution, falsification of the nature of his military service, academic fraud, plagiarism, selling other artists' creations as his own and falsely accusing Denver Post columnist Diane Carman of inventing incendiary quotations.

All this provides ample justification for termination pursuant to accusations of incompetence and lack of integrity. But it is Churchill's instructions on violence that demand immediate suspension followed by termination. Due process must be provided, but unless this accused can somehow suppress his own statements, he should ultimately lose his job.

Here is what Churchill preaches: The U.S. is fascist and Nazi-like. Genocide has been and continues to be perpetrated by our government here and abroad. America was illegally colonized by non-natives who now should be killed (One example of him saying this: "Killing the colonizer is a figurative proposition, it is a literal proposition, but either way, and by all available means, the proposition has to be fulfilled.")

According to this CU professor, violence is necessary to dismantle the illegal entity that is the U.S. Churchill's recorded reactions to 9/11 were "Right on!" and a statement that "The action was correct." On April 19, 1995, according to one former student, Churchill praised and celebrated the Oklahoma City bombing during his CU class.

Capis and Silverman are trial attorneys who host a show on KHOW talk radio in Denver. They have put together a very interesting collection of links to back up their charges.

When reading the excerpt provided above, one is immediately struck by the similarities between Churchill's views and those of the Chomskyite progressive faction of the Left. The charges of fascism and genocide are the bread and butter of these Marxists. Churchill's own Marxist credentials are impeccable: classes formerly taught by him include Basic Marxism, Marxism and the Native American, Cultural Marxism, and Principles of Third World Revolt.

Of course, it is not a crime to be a Marxist, nor is it outside the realm of acceptable academic discourse to lay the charges of genocide and fascism against America (if it were, Noam Chomsky would be seeking work right now). Even Churchill's infamous essay calling the victims of 9/11 'little Eichmanns' is not, in itself, an offense that warrants removal (though it surely warrants ostracism, and as a polemic, it is a very poor example, indeed). Nor is it against the law to be a hateful misanthrope. Based on these facts, and these facts alone, I originally joined in the crowd saying that Churchill was a pathetic wretch, but he should be allowed to retain his employment.

Subsequent revelations have shown that judgment to be hasty. It's important to state that while I hold Chomsky in contempt for his blame-America-first attitudes, I in no way mean to imply that he is guilty of the abuses of Churchill. From all appearances, Churchill has fabricated his military record and genealogy (to gain 'street cred', no doubt). Immediately, as an administrator or regent, a giant red flag concerning my hire's integrity should be flashing in front of my eyes. (For a different perspective on Churchill's self-identification as a native American, see here).

Then there is the curious history of Churchill's art (if by curious, you mean fraudulent). The final nail in the integrity coffin, so to speak, is Churchill's academic fraud. In the academic world, there are few charges more serious, but Churchill, never one to rest one his laurels, throws in a little plagiarism to sweeten the deal.

Others have written extensively and eloquently on the subject of Churchill's love affair with terrorism (Michelle Malkin, Pirate Ballerina, and FrontPage Magazine are good jumping-off points); that is a matter for law enforcement, should they choose to pursue it. The credibility issues are another matter entirely.

Falsification of one's record, plagiarism, shoddy scholarship, and fraudulent claims in academic works not only give an institution grounds to fire someone, they obligate the institution to do so. To keep Ward Churchill on the faculty is a slap in the face to all serious professors and academics, and a great disservice to the CU students and alumni. The matter is no longer whether one should be fired for unpopular, even incendiary, views; it's now a question of academic integrity, for Churchill and the institution that employs him.

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