portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting united states

education

Support Ward Churchill. Stop the Inquisition.

The following is an essay that deconstructs the charges of research misconduct that were leveled against Ward Churchill - charges that were obvious retaliation for his comments concerning 9-11.

Please take the time to read this report. Internal appeals are now underway and it is possible that Ward Churchill may be fired from his tenured position at the University of Colorado at any time now.

If this happens, we cannot let it go unchallenged.....
It's Just a Farce:
Ward Churchill and the Research Misconduct Inquisition

Jeff Hendricks


On May 16th, 2006, an Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct at the University of Colorado, Boulder, released its report concerning allegations of research misconduct leveled at Ward L. Churchill, a tenured professor of Native American Studies at the University, and a prolific writer, public speaker, and Native American activist. In the report, the committee stated that it had unanimously found Ward L. Churchill guilty of "serious" and "deliberate" research misconduct.

The report was the culmination of a lengthy year and a half long inquisition initiated against Ward Churchill in retaliation for comments he made in an essay entitled "Some People Push Back" and the follow-up book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, both of which concerned the events of 9-11. In the essay, Churchill argued against the popular public belief in the innocence of the World Trade Center victims by labeling them a "technocratic corps" that functioned as the organizers and facilitators of U.S. empire, and comparing them to Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Nazi perpetuated holocaust during World War II.

Immediately, a well coordinated media inquisition began. Headed by Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly, a chorus of moral outrage that spanned the political spectrum grew throughout the country. The goal of this media witch hunt was to force the University of Colorado to fire Ward Churchill for his remarks about 9-11.

The hypocrisy of these witch hunters was immediately evident as media outlets and politicians all over the country, including Colorado Governor Bill Owens and the Senate of Colorado, clamored to defend America against Ward Churchill's statements by demanding that he be fired for his "anti-American sentiments." Apparently they did not notice that in advocating for the firing of Professor Churchill (based solely on his political opinions) they were themselves attacking "American Values" - in the form of the 1st amendment of the United States Bill of Rights. When the initial frenzy cooled, the inquisitors realized their tactical error and immediately initiated a new campaign to discredit and marginalize Professor Churchill. This time the defenders of America disingenuously sought to question the factual basis of Ward Churchill's scholarship and have him fired for research misconduct. This is the point where the real farce began.

Accusations of research misconduct against Ward Churchill, some of which were rehashed from ones made nearly a decade ago, began to flow into Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano's office at the University of Colorado. Chancellor DiStephano lost no time condemning Ward Churchill's scholarship calling it "profoundly repugnant" in public statements and vowed to fully investigate the claims of research misconduct. Not surprisingly, on March 24, 2005, DiStefano issued a statement concerning the accusations of research misconduct against Professor Churchill in which he concluded that "the allegations of research misconduct, related to plagiarism, misuse of other's work and fabrication, have sufficient merit to warrant further inquiry." This was the starting point for a process that would take longer than a year and eventually lead to the formation of a committee to investigate the accusations of research misconduct against Ward Churchill. On May 16th, 2006, the five member committee assigned to investigate Professor Churchill found him guilty of "serious" and "deliberate" research misconduct.

For many in the media this was end game. A jury of Professor Churchill's peers had thoroughly investigated the allegations against him and found him guilty - end of story. However, despite the trite glee of personalities like Bill O'Reilly and others who rejoiced in Professor Churchill's downfall, there is more to the story than a simple verdict of guilty. In fact, a thorough investigation of the Investigative Committee's report, in which they found Churchill guilty, shows that the reality is much more complex. There are often two sides to a story............



To continue reading this article please visit the Ward Churchill Solidarity Network website:

www.wardchurchill.net

homepage: homepage: http://www.wardchurchill.net


Support Ward 26.Feb.2007 18:51

indiangiver

Ward Churchill is not a fraud. He is a brilliant scholar and activist, and he does not deserve attacks from Bill O'Reilly or the right-wing 9/11 nutcases who assume that anything that doesn't jibe with their "theories" is part of the conspiracy.

Truth in Western Academics 07.Jan.2008 10:38

Rottweiler bxcassidy@smpatico.ca

It is interesting to note that often people fear what they don't understand - it disturbs their comfort zone. Rather than try to understand what Ward Churchill is actually saying, his collegues, higher-ups in the university and most folks who adhere to the Far Right ideologies, prefer to fire him, threaten him, discredit him, etc. These types of people, deliberately in my opinion, are threatened by Ward Churchill and those who think like him. Shoot first and ask questions later seems to be the mindset of far too many people who are anti-Ward Churchill. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise, they can't handle the truth, in particular the truth about Native people. I find it quite bizarre to read that WC is guilty of plagarism. I have read most of his books and articles and have found them to be meticulously reasearched and referenced - in fact, I have followed up some of the footnotes in his books and articles and - amazing - not only does WC credit his sources, he also quotes or paraphrases them in an accurate manner. In the early 20th Century, Duncan Campbell Scott, the Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Canada said something to the effect that we will not be satisfied until the "Indian Problem" is over and every Indian is absorbed into the body politic. In the case of WC, he is a problem to those who do not want to hear what happened and is still happening to Native people in North America. Since WC cannot be "absorbed", he must be fired, slandered, liabled and discredited. Megwich - Thank you