From our Thank You Sir May I Have Another? department: Drunkablog discovers that CU not only hires them and tenures them, but it also brings scam-artists in from outside for speaking engagements.
"We should be responsible to protect each other from the crimes against humanity."
Yeah. That was certainly worth $160,000.
Speaking of scams (and who isn't?), this week's CU faculty organ Silver & Gold Record carries an LTTE opposing—what else?—the firing of that valued member of the academic community, Ward Churchill.
I am writing to express support for Ward Churchill's right to freedom of expression, and to oppose the possible firing of Professor Churchill on trumped-up charges. Professor Churchill is a valued member of the academic community, and the freedom to express political opinions, even when unpopular, is a vital part of academic culture. As a graduate student and a teacher myself, I strongly believe that we need professors who challenge the status quo as Churchill does. Firing Professor Churchill would be a serious blow against one of the most important roles in universities: to expose both students and faculty to the free expression and exchange of ideas.
Kristina Aikens, English, Tufts University
Hey, look! Kristina's at Tufts! Isn't that the stomping grounds of another DBAB member and "critical thimker"?
...and over on Colorado Daily's Wednesday LTTEs (which also publishes Kristina's plea) is an even more impassioned example of critical thimking (ht TDR):
I am among the many writing asking that you reconsider the potential dismissal of Professor Churchill. The impact of such a decision on academic freedom will be devastating, and could initiate a contemporary wave of academic persecution the likes of which have not been seen since the McCarthy era. Being among the first institutions swept up in that wave will likely have long-lasting repercussions on your own institutional strength, complicating long-term recruiting (of both faculty and students) and adding a degree of infamy more frequently associated with less prestigious private institutions like Bob Jones University.
The nature of the charges is exaggerated at best, and a potential dismissal will have two immediate implications: First, it will implicate [sic] your tenure process are [sic] amateurish and unprofessional as Professor Churchill had attained tenure in spite of such institutional oversight. Second, it will reduce the value of any degree attained by any student at your institution who managed to pass Professor Churchill's course. It would all be one thing if these had been identified as problems during the tenure process. That they have only become the objects of serious scrutiny now make [sic] you look like water-carriers for David Horowitz. If the public were ever better apprised of Horowitz and his connection to efforts to stifle academic freedom, regardless of the informal, indirect nature of his relationship to this effort, such an association would damage you far more than any association with Churchill. The Right already believes that academia is rife with liberalism, so the impact of the initial Churchill 9/11 controversy is really a drop in the bucket. Having your school associated with fringe movements whose political influence has been effectively halted by growing public antipathy against [sic] the War in Iraq will do you no favors.
The decision is yours, and I can only hope you are truly guided by your conscience, whatever your decision may be. I only hope that conscience is guided by a spirit of open-mindedness and an appreciation of the influence of that decision.
Assistant Professor of Communication Studies University of Houston-Downtown