Conservative professor: Ward Churchill firing a travesty

February 17, 2009

There’s an opinion piece in support of Ward Churchill in this morning’s Colorado Daily, penned by David Deming, a conservative University of Oklahoma professor.  

In full, as it’s a good one:

In July 2007, Ward Churchill was fired from his position as a tenured professor at the University of Colorado.

The pretext given for his dismissal was academic misconduct. But the real reason was that Professor Churchill wrote some things that offended people.

His termination was a violation of the academic freedom guaranteed to faculty by CU and the U.S. Constitution.

We embrace free speech for pragmatic reasons. Without criticism, human knowledge cannot increase.

Francis Bacon explained, “Knowledge is like water, it will not rise above the level from which it fell.”

Intellectual freedom is essential to the progress of the human race. William Godwin understood this when he wrote that no government “should set up a standard upon the various topics of human speculation, to restrain the excursions of an inventive mind. It is only by giving a free scope to these excursions, that science, philosophy and morals have arrived at their present degree of perfection.”

It is seldom the case that any of us are wise enough to discern that we are absolutely correct, or that another person is completely wrong. We should keep in mind that we are all members of a species infamous for intolerance, ignorance and cruelty.

The human race has a track record of murdering its greatest benefactors simply because they said things that offended people.

The investigation into Professor Churchill’s alleged academic misconduct was a disingenuous and utterly transparent excuse for punishing him.

I doubt if many CU faculty members could withstand having their entire body of work scrutinized by a Star Chamber with a magnifying lens.

Suppose I publicly criticize the local police department, and their officers subsequently start following me all over town, ticketing me for minor violations that they normally would ignore.

Am I being punished for breaking the law — or for exercising my right of free speech?

I have never met Professor Churchill, and it is likely that we would disagree on many things.

I approach issues from the opposite end of the political spectrum. I’m an outspoken conservative, member of the National Rifle Association and advocate of pure 19th-century laissez faire capitalism.

But I’m not afraid to hear viewpoints that I disagree with, and I don’t seek to punish people who think differently. I listen to them because I might learn something.

Truth can only be found when there is a vigorous dialectic.

I am curious as to how CU will carry out its mission of research and teaching now that its faculty works in a culture of fear. Scholars cannot think and write freely if they know that they might be fired because someone is offended by their work.

In the academy, we are supposed to inculcate intellectual diversity, not expel those we disagree with.

It was Professor Churchill’s duty to be controversial and offensive. He should not have been fired for doing his job.

The administration of the University of Colorado has made an execrable error, one that stamps the institution with the indelible brands of ignorance and intolerance.

Advertisements

4 Responses to “Conservative professor: Ward Churchill firing a travesty”


  1. […] The usual four anti-Churchill bloggers spammed the comments, lead in their charge by Ward Churchill’s premiere stalker, Snapple, who is still trying to convince the world that Ward Churchill killed JonBenet Ramsey. (To their credit, the folks at The Chronicle Review deleted her comments. Y’know, because she’s nuts.) She also spammed the Colorado Daily piece I linked to yesterday. […]

  2. Ho Chi Zen Says:

    “I approach issues from the opposite end of the political spectrum. I’m [a] member of the National Rifle Association”

    How is that the opposite of Ward Churchill? lol

    All and all, excellent editorial.

  3. Ben Says:

    Great point!

  4. Razor Says:

    “Suppose I publicly criticize the local police department, and their officers subsequently start following me all over town, ticketing me for minor violations that they normally would ignore.

    Am I being punished for breaking the law — or for exercising my right of free speech?”

    Excellent comparison. Ward was punished by the petty cops at CU for exercising his right to free speech. I’m really happy I didn’t go to CU for graduate school 20 years ago. I wouldn’t want to be associated with that place at all.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: