..............don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you. Churchill was recently let go by the University of Colorado, which found that he had committed numerous acts of academic fraud. Here is the link to the university president's column in the Wall Street Journal explaining why Churuchill was fired, and the full text of his column is located immediately below that:
Why I Fired Professor Churchill
By HANK BROWN
July 26, 2007; Page A13
University of Colorado Ethnic Studies Professor Ward Churchill was fired this week after the university's Board of Regents approved my recommendation to dismiss him for academic fraud.
The ongoing drama now moves to state court, where Mr. Churchill has filed a lawsuit against the university alleging that it violated his First Amendment rights. Mr. Churchill drew considerable attention to himself in an essay that compared 9/11 victims to notorious Nazi Adolf Eichmann.
While no action was taken by the university with regard to his views on 9/11, many complaints surfaced at the time about his scholarship from faculty around the country. The university had an obligation to investigate. The complaints led to the formation of three separate investigative panels -- which included more than 20 of his faculty peers and which worked for over two years -- to unanimously find a pattern of serious, deliberate and repeated research misconduct that fell below minimum standards of professional integrity.
The panels found that Mr. Churchill rewrote history to fit his own theories. When confronted, he
asserted he was not responsible. According to one report, "Professor Churchill has, on more than one occasion, claimed that certain acts that appear to have been his were instead the responsibility of some other actor: his editor or publisher, his assistant, or his former wife and collaborator." The report goes on to note that "we have come to see these claims as emblems of a recurrent refusal to take responsibility for errors . . . and a willingness to blame others for his troubles."
But his case is about far more than academic misconduct. It is about the accountability that public universities must demonstrate. Mr. Churchill's difficulties in facing up to his academic responsibilities are in many ways emblematic of higher education's trouble with accountability. Too often, colleges and universities tend to insulate themselves in ivy-covered buildings and have not been as diligent as necessary to ensure that the academic enterprise is conducted rigorously and honestly. This elitist attitude is simply outdated, and our university has made tenure reforms -- precipitated by the Churchill case -- that will ensure academic integrity.
Universities, particularly public research universities, are accountable to those who have a stake in their success and efficient operation. At the University of Colorado, this includes the people of Colorado who contribute $200 million in taxes annually, the federal agencies that provide some $640 million annually in research funding, the alumni who want to maintain the value of their degrees, the faculty who expect their colleagues to act with integrity and the students who trust that faculty who teach them meet high professional standards.
And just as the public has high expectations for us, we expect our faculty members to be accountable for maintaining high standards of scholarship. A public research university such as ours requires public faith that each faculty member's professional activities and search for truth are conducted according to the academic standards on which an institution's reputation rests.
The University of Colorado's reputation was called into question in the matter of Ward Churchill. His claim that he was singled out for his free speech is a smokescreen.
Controversy -- especially self-sought controversy -- doesn't immunize a faculty member from adhering to professional standards. If you are a responsible faculty member, you don't falsify research, you don't plagiarize the work of others, you don't fabricate historical events and you don't thumb your nose at the standards of the profession. More than 20 of Mr. Churchill's faculty peers from Colorado and other universities found that he committed those acts. That's what got him fired.
Even great universities have problems. Places with thousands of faculty and tens of thousands of mostly young students are not immune to trouble. But a university's reputation will only be strengthened when it works to ensure that it remains accountable to those it serves.
Mr. Brown, a former U.S. senator, is president of the University of Colorado.