Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Trials of Ward Churchill

Just to let you all know, Ward Churchill's lawsuit against Colorado University goes to trial in a few weeks. As the Ward Churchill Solidarity Network tells us:

A little over a year ago, Ward Churchill was fired from his position as a professor at the University of Colorado on trumped up charges of academic misconduct. His firing was the result of one of the filthiest media smear campaigns in modern history, crushing pressure brought to bear by a number of hack politicians including Governor Bill Owens, and the overwhelming cowardice of CU’s administration.
As some of you may recall, the Churchill brouhaha started when some right-wing students noticed his essay about September 11th, Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens on the Kersplebedeb website. A media feeding frenzy ensued, along with a harassment campaign against professor Churchill, as the right mobilized to use this case as the first step in a more general rollback against the academic left. (For more on this see here - and yes that's right, my little Kersplebedeb site is the "obscure website" mentioned.)

Now regardless of what one thinks of the Some People Push Back essay (gotta admit it's not one of my favourites), or about the academic left, it will be a good thing for us all if Churchill delivers a spanking to to the university and political forces that had him fired.

To keep up to date on Churchill's trials and tribulations, check out the Ward Chuchill Trial blog.


  1. I think the "obscure website" was Dark Night Field Notes. Isn't that where the essay originally appeared?

  2. I'm going to have to disagree. I have read the investigation committee report, and, as an academic type myself, I have to agree with its conclusions.

    Look, I know he's one of ours, but he's deeply flawed. His scholarship frankly doesn't pass muster--misrepresenting sources and doing this sort of thing:

    [The Committee observed] Professor Churchill’s practice of referring to essays that he claims to have written himself as if they were independent authorities. In Submission H, when discussing an article by Guenter Lewy, Professor Churchill drew attention to the fact that Lewy notes that Lenore A. Stiffarm and Phil Lane, Jr. support Churchill’s claim that the U.S. Army started the pandemic of 1837-40 by distributing smallpox-infected blankets at Fort Clark.176 Professor Churchill gave no indication in that submission that he claims elsewhere to have authored the Stiffarm and Lane essay himself

    That, boys and girls, is fraud. And I haven't even gotten into his claim to have Native blood, highly dubious, to put it mildly.

    We'd never let some right-wing hack get away with this sort of nonsense, and we should be even-handed in our application of standards. My prediction is that Churchill will not prevail. He certainly should not.

  3. huh!
    could be - based on the fact that the kersplebedeb site was where the various media scum were directing people at the time, i assumed it was where the essay had been "discovered"

    btw is Dark Night Field Notes available online?

  4. Gotcha. Yeah, I think you owned the traffic. Dark Night Field Notes is online: www.darknightpress.org/ I think you can even still find the original article on there somewhere.

  5. No, "Dawg". That's ghostwriting. Fairly standard practice, and something which CU has no prohibitions on. People cite themselves all the time, and Churchill could have cited any number of people to support his claim, from right-wing biographer Hampton Sides to so-called revisionist historian Francis Jennings. Not too mention Mandan leader Four Bears, who made the same claim while dying of said smallpox epidemic.

    Disliking someone's citations, or wishing they'd offered more citations, is hardly fraud. As an academic type yourself, one might think you'd know that.

  6. BMW -- Four Bears did not say one word about the US Army. He blamed white people for bringing the disease, which nobody disputes. He does not support Churchill's accusation against the Army. Even Churchill has back-pedaled away from his accusation against the Army.

    Also, Churchill was not convicted because people "disliked" his citations. He's convicted because he lied about the content of his data. In academia, that's called "falsification".