Professor Ward Churchill, Professor Eric Cheyfitz also published an essay (albeit much shorter and, by comparison, enormously footnote-deficient) in the recent issue of Works and Days. Because CU's Investigating Subcommittee comprised an Indian law professor, a history professor, a chicano/a studies professor, a sociology professor, and a law professor, Cheyfitz insists "[t]he composition of the IC [...] violates the standards, noted previously, that the SCRM is intended to follow in establishing such a committee, which is supposed to be made up of scholars 'who have expertise relevant to the allegations being investigated.'" Cheyfitz, btw, is an English professor, so we'll agree that he's qualified to properly punctuate the subcommittee's report, but to criticize the subcommittee's composition? It is to laugh. (ht anonymous jackbooted thug)
Update: Cheyfitz says
Further, these four subjects [the Dawes Act, The Indian Arts & Crafts Act, Captain John Smith's alleged connection to the outbreak of disease in New England, and the Mandan smallpox epidemic of 1837] can be grouped under two topics central to American Indian studies and exceptionally controversial: identity and genocide.
Clearly, the other four members of the IC have no expertise whatsoever in these matters, which necessarily left them entirely dependent on [Robert] Clinton's "expertise" and judgment.
We feel compelled to remind Cheyfitz that one does not need to be an American Indian history expert, or even a scholar, to recognize Churchill's lies, obfuscations, and fabrications. One simply needs to be able to see more than the interior of one's own colon.
Update II: Cheyfitz says (emphasis ours)
Out of the four historical allegations made in the IC Report, the P&T Report upholds only the claim that Churchill, while having credible support for his overall claim about the Mandan epidemic, "deliberately [...] fabricated" three details of his account of the epidemic: the infected blankets came from an infirmary in St.Louis; Army doctors or the post surgeon advised the Indians to scatter after smallpox broke out among them; the number of Indians that died in the pandemic that followed the Fort Clark situation (sections 5.5.4-5.5.7). If one understands, as I do, that fabrication cannot occur without intent and that intent cannot be proven in this case given the size of the sample, then what we have here is not research misconduct, but rather a few questions about the accuracy of Churchill's narrative that deserve answers: the kinds of questions that scholars raise all the time about each other's work in the normal course of scholarly debate.
If one understands, as we do, that Cheyfitz is a pompous phony, then what we have here is the sort of circling-the-wagons professional self-preservation one would expect from the Ethnic Studies Echo Chamber.
Update III: Cheyfitz says (emphasis ours)
Professor Tom Mayer of the Department of Sociology of UCB has thoroughly deconstructed these remaining charges [sic] and l am indebted to him in particular for his analysis of the plagiarism charges ("The Plagiarism Charges"). In general, following Mayer, I find all these charges frivolous. When I testified before the P&T Committee in January of 2007, I said in effect that though Churchill's practice of ghostwriting and using the ghostwritten material as third-party evidence "is 'not my cup of tea." I did not find it to be "a significant problem[.]"
No, Cheyfitz, you wouldn't.
BTW: This Works and Days issue isn't entirely comprised of gasbags whining pretentiously about the raw deal Churchill is getting. Somehow, an actual rational thinker managed to to sneak into the mix. Robert M. O'Neil, Professor of Law Emeritus and Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, notes in an essay titled "The Post-9/11 University: It Could Have Been Much Worse":
[T]here have been suggestions that the quality of Churchill's scholarship would never have been targeted but for the inquiry into his posted writings. Since that inquiry concluded the statements about "little Eichmanns" and "courage of their convictions" enjoyed First Amendment protection and could not support any sanction, Churchill himself claimed that the research inquiry was thus "a pretext to penalize constitutionally protected speech" (Gravois 1).1 Thus runs the argument that the research misconduct charges were effectively a classic case of "fruit of the poisonous tree" and for that reason could not be used fairly as the basis of an alleged nonspeech dismissal charge.
This argument surely has a more than superficial appeal. There are, however, several countervailing considerations. For one, Churchill's research had been a matter of separate concern to the Boulder campus administration for some time, well before "little Eichmanns" appeared on the radar. Indeed, scholars from other institutions had apparently written years earlier to express precisely this concern to Colorado officials, but such accusations apparently languished in the chancellor's office files. The reasons for prior inaction have never been clarified, though we know the academic process has never been a model of efficiency. Second, the research inquiry process was wholly separate from the probe of Churchill's extramural speech—a completely distinct faculty committee (in fact two sequential faculty inquiries), examining an entirely different body of material under quite distinct standards.
Finally, and perhaps most compelling, the nexus between two facets of such a case need not be entirely blank; while "fruit of the poisonous tree" may not be used for collateral purposes in certain criminal proceedings, such constraints need not apply to inquiries into academic fitness. Indeed, had the Boulder administration declined to probe Churchill's scholarship solely because the contentious postings made him a visible campus figure, such abstention would rightly have been viewed as abdication of a responsibility to students, faculty, and the larger academic community. Consequently, despite the superficial appeal of this claim derived from the link between the two charges, it does not follow that vindication on one ground ensures total immunity with regard to other possible academic transgressions.