Wednesday, 2 February 2005

Ward Churchill

I can’t say I have a huge amount of sympathy for the political views of Ward Churchill, the UC-Boulder professor who now won’t be speaking at Hamilton College. That said, he’s a tenured faculty member at Colorado—however ill-judged the decision to tenure him was—and even if he weren’t tenured, the facts that he’s an insensitive jackass with repellant views and a walking testimonial for the validity of Godwin’s Law wouldn’t rise to the level so as to justify his firing.

More at Protein Wisdom and Cold Spring Shops; another account of Churchill’s travails appears in today’s Chronicle of Higher Ed daily update ($).

Saturday, 5 February 2005

More Churchill

Marc Cooper has some fighting words for his bretheren on the left who are giving Ward Churchill’s remarks a free pass:

Free speech and the first amendment should cover all professors, no matter how repugnant. I think it legitimate to defend Churchill’s right to be a vocal asshole (heaven knows most universities are densely populated with such types on both the Right and Left).

What I’m worried about is the way that some liberal groups are hemming and hawing on what he actually said. I’ve seen that some Colorado peace groups are praising Churchill as some sort of font of wisdom and downgrading his remarks as merely “stupid.” Other similar groups are actually supporting him—like this statement from the Rocky Mountain Center for Peace and Justice who in lauding Churchill characterize his remarks as only “ill-chosen.”

No. Not ill-chosen. They were carefully selected, hateful, unforgivable and demented, frankly. And having kept half-an-eye on Churchill since he emitted his execrable screed, I noticed that he has continued to be invited as a guest or panelist at numerous lefty events instead of being ostracized and ignored.

Mind you, Cooper wouldn’t have Churchill fired; neither Stephen Bainbridge nor Eugene Volokh would fire him either. Glenn Reynolds also has some linkage on Churchill’s connections (or lack thereof) to the American Indian Movement and native American ancestry in general; apparently being a “fake Indian” is even more popular than I thought previously.

Tuesday, 8 February 2005

Quisling will do nicely

Eugene Volokh is soliciting new surnames for embattled UC-Boulder professor Ward Churchill in an effort to find a compromise.

Sunday, 20 February 2005

That other Churchill guy

I haven’t had much to say about Ward Churchill in a while, but this post by Stephen Green (þ: InstaPundit) lept out at me, mainly due to the Rocky Mountain News article Green dug up. Read it and weep.

BOULDER—Ward Churchill was rejected by two University of Colorado departments in 1991 before the communication department agreed to give him tenure. Even in the communication department, the chairman-elect was “uncomfortable” with the decision, according to documents released Friday by CU.

At the time, CU officials were shopping for a department that would accept Churchill, fearing they would lose him to another university.

In a memo to the communication faculty, Michael Pacanowsky, who was in line to become chairman, said Churchill needed to join a department, since the program that sponsored his Native American Studies courses did not have the authority to grant tenure.

“Ward’s file was circulated to sociology and political science, and they did not agree to roster him in their departments,” Pacanowsky wrote in an e-mail dated Jan. 10, 1991. “Because Ward’s graduate degree, an MA, was in communications, we were contacted next.”

The University of Colorado at Boulder is what us academics used to call a “Research I” institution (now it’s a “Doctoral-Research Extensive” institution under the Carnegie classification system, which is essentially equivalent). In other words, the job of UC-Boulder in academe is to do cutting-edge research and produce people with doctorates (and the undergraduate program is largely designed to subsidize those activities by bringing in tuition to subsidize research and giving you guinea pigs for your Ph.D. students to practice teaching on). You do that by hiring the best people with doctorates you can find. You don’t do that by hiring fake Indians who have produced questionable scholarship and don’t have terminal degrees just to engage in quota-filling exercises.

Don’t get me wrong—if Churchill’s only crime against academic society was being an offensive jackass, that might even be a qualification for granting him tenure. But shoddy scholarship and a tenure file shockingly bereft of what most academics would consider to be tenurable activity are another matter entirely.