CNews 30April09

Professor Doctor Ward Churchill hopes to be back in a CU classroom by the fall semester. The Daily Camera article notes that The Perfesser plans to call "a lot of witnesses" at the hearing if Judge Larry Naves permits it. We're guessing that means he'll trot out a bunch of former Victims Studies students; not only will they uniformly sing his praises, but they're amazingly easy to find—if they're not working the local drive-through window, they're in the CU faculty lounge.

'There is no truth.'

Quote of the day: "Tailoring the facts to fit one's theory constitutes neither good science nor good journalism. Rather, it is intellectually dishonest and, when published for consumption by a mass audience, adds up to propaganda." —Ward Churchill, "About That Bering Strait Land Bridge... Let's Turn Those Footprints Around", Since Predator Came

CNews 28April09

From our Come Back, Leroy! All Is Forgiven! department: At long last, documented proof that the US military infected others with a fatal disease, killing an estimated 20 million. (via DrunkaAltoid)

CNews 27April09

University of Idaho law professor Angelique EagleWoman includes herself out of the Ward Churchill lovefest. Apparently, Indians Churchill doesn't ghost-write for are less than impressed with him.

Ward Churchill has hurt Native American communities, Native American academics and Native American education. He has claimed to be someone he is not and used that as a platform to fuel his career. As Native American people, we have the right to say who is a member of our Tribes, our governments, our organizations and our peoples. He is not, has not been and the most he can claim is that in an act of generosity at one point the United Kootewah [sic] Band of Cherokee gave him an award which we call “honorary membership.” An award that he has used in completely unexpected and unprecedented ways to claim that he speaks on behalf of the Native American community as a Native American intellectual.

There is no doubt that his 9/11 article spurred on the investigation in Colorado. However, to many in the Native community this day was a long sought after day. Often when we raise concerns over those using our identity falsely (a very common phenomenon in this country by non-Indians), we are ignored. This is evidenced by all those who contacted CU and complained that Ward Churchill should be investigated prior to the 9/11 speech.

If you choose to view this as only an “academic freedom” issue, do so knowing that you are ignoring Native Americans in the process. That you would be turning a blind eye to our on-going struggle to be represented in the academy, to our on-going struggle that state educational institutions follow tribal membership standards for counting and reporting Native Americans, to our on-going struggle to represent ourselves accurately in historical respects, political respects and as academics. His reinstatement would be a further slap in the face to the Native community showing that our concerns are still not legitimized in our own homelands.


Angelique EagleWoman

CNews 26April09

DrunkaProle reports that Professor Doctor Ward Churchill was in San Francisco last week with future ex-wife Lynne Stewart to show solidarity with the San Francisco [insert number here]... or was it to count Mo-Nah-Se-Tah's teeth? Inflate his direct objects? Touch base with his adoring fans?

...DrunkaBiff also has an entertaining post on "the black Ward Churchill" (didn't The Perfesser used to be black?)

CNews 17April09

Team Teabag member Max Forte presents video of Professor Doctor Ward Churchill's recent lout-shout up in Canuckistan, shot with a low-grade camcorder with very poor lighting. Bad audio, too. What's not to love? For those unable or unwilling to view the video, here's a synopsis we wrote four years ago today.

CNews 16April09

We thought the reinstatement hullabaloo following Teh Trial would be over in 30 days, but not according to today's issue of CU's faculty house organ Silver & Gold Record (right column, "News Briefs", 3rd item; ht Leah):
Attorney David Lane has until May 2 to file a brief on whether Ward Churchill should be reinstated to a UCB faculty position or awarded a lump sum to account for future lost income. Churchill has said he wants to be reinstated to the faculty and would reject a lump-sum settlement offer. CU spokesman Ken McConnellogue said Tuesday that CU is opposed to Churchill's return to the UCB ethnic studies faculty, and that CU attorneys will take that approach when they answer Lane's brief. CU has 20 days after Lane files his brief to answer it; Lane then has 15 days to respond to CU's brief. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Larry Naves is expected to then set a hearing on the briefs, and after the hearing will render his decision on whether Churchill should be reinstated to a faculty position or awarded a lump-sum settlement.

CNews 15April09

Another Durango Herald article on The Perfesser's lout-shout at Fort Lewis College last Saturday (ht Leah)

[Professor Ward] Churchill was fired after an essay of his surfaced calling the Sept. 11 victims who worked in the World Trade Center "little Eichmanns" for their role in America's "global financial empire." Adolf Eichmann was a Nazi bureaucrat who managed the logistics of the Holocaust.

Churchill did not repudiate that comparison Saturday, describing the Twin Towers victims as "people sitting at their desks starving children for profit maximization."

College President Brad Bartel, whom Churchill referred to as "President Bartels," drew a few pointed words from Churchill. Bartel had announced before the speech that he would not attend because of Churchill's "violations of academic integrity."

"Your president chooses to repeat a falsehood concerning my academic integrity," Churchill said.

 "Falsehood." That's rich. Apparently, The Perfesser considers himself sufficiently immunized against consequence (with irony booster) that he can say whatever comes into his head. Thanks to CU's incredible incompetence, unfortunately, he's probably right.

CNews 14April09

Over at PoliGazette, regular PB commenter Orson Buggeigh posts an essay contrasting Professor Ward Churchill with President Obama's choice for Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Larry Echo Hawk.

'When the Pope died I made [the] front page.'

A "Professional Academic Advisor" at CU, Ken Bonetti, retells one of DBAB's Medium-Sized Lies in a Letter to the Editor entitled "CU's censorship addiction" when he says "Churchill was eventually fired over charges of falsification, fabrication and plagiarism." No, Bonetti. Churchill was fired over findings of falsification, fabrication and plagiarism. Multiple findings. There's a difference. Jesus, they'll let any illiterate hand out professional academic advice these days.  (ht Leah)

CNews 13April09

Larry DeWitt puts paid to Stanley Fish's gawd-awful essay with "Deeper Into The Muck: Ward Churchill and the 'Everybody Does It' Defense" (ht Leah)

So we have to ask: Has Professor Fish ever written something; put someone else’s name on it; then cited it in his subsequent writings as third-party support for his thesis? Has he ever published something under his own name that was written by someone else because they refused to let him republish it? Has he taken a pamphlet written by an advocacy group and published it under his own by-line?
BTW: The three (so far) comments to DeWitt's laudible essay make excellent points. Our favorite, of course, is from someone named Thomas F. Brown, who notes:
"We do not find academic misconduct with respect to his general claim that the U.S. Army deliberately spread smallpox to Mandan Indians at Fort Clark in 1837, using infected blankets."

This statement from the Investigative Committee shows just how far they bent over backwards to give Churchill the benefit of the doubt. Churchill was unable to produce any evidence of Army presence at Fort Clark, and alluded to "oral history" only after he was caught out making up details about what supposedly happened at Fort Clark.

After four years, Churchill at trial was still unable to produce any evidence of Army presence at Fort Clark. Instead, he cited a children's book and a Buffy St. Marie song.


'You got a trigger finger, so that's one possibility.'

Speaking of shaming the devil, "Elizabeth" takes Stanley Fish to task for "Ward Churchill Redux"

I’m one of Ward Churchill’s colleagues, unfortunately.

The real question has totally been obscured here. It doesn’t matter why anybody looked at Churchill’s work. Our work should stand up to inspection at any time, for any reason.

The truth of the matter is that Churchill lied. When he “ghostwrote” articles and then cited them as proof for arguments he wrote under his own name, he lied. It was a deliberate lie, pure and simple.

Scholarship depends on us telling the truth to the best of our abilities. When Churchill lied about who wrote those articles, he violated the most fundamental code of our profession.

I’m ashamed to be on the same faculty as he is. If he comes back, I will deeply regret it. He has not only tarnished his reputation, he’s tarnished mine and the reputations of every single member of the Colorado faculty.

Shame on you, Stanley, for putting up with this nonsense.

'I was hired for what I do.'

Race To The Bottom takes a look at "front pay" should CU somehow prevail in fighting Churchill's reinstatement (ht Leah)


It is likely that Churchill, at age 61, could argue that he is entitled to nine years of $110,000 (his compensation plus benefits before CU dismissed him for a total of $990,000) since most full professors commonly retire at age 70.  This might change given the severe reduction in faculty retirement accounts due to the economic downturn.  On his duty to make reasonable efforts to obtain a new job, Churchill testified that while he had a couple of inquiries from faculty members from other universities for placement, once university administrations got wind of the "feelers," the inquiries ended in each case.  Clearly, Churchill can successfully argue that it would be very difficult, despite his "reasonable efforts, to obtain a new job of like kind, status, and pay at another university."

And on the award of legal fees:

In a prior post on the award of attorney fees, it was estimated that Churchill's fees could easily exceed $1,000,000 given his three attorney legal team and numerous expert witnesses. If the front pay is $748,186 or cut in half if the court awards four to five years of front pay rather than nine years (or even further reduced under a duty to mitigate theory), the attorney fees of over $1,000,000 could trigger a court reduction for attorney fees under the Farrer v. Hobby analysis. In short, Churchill needs to vigorously defend his assertion that reinstatement is the preferred remedy for him.

Can you say 'comprachico'?

It occurs to us that this simple addition to tenure contracts might have preempted the Churchill Burlesque entirely:

Employee may be terminated with cause for any proven offense for which a student of this university would be expelled.

We call it the Ounce of Prevention clause.

'There is no truth.'

From our Good News, Bad News, Good—Nope, More Bad News department: While we shudder at the thought of using the words "amorous" and "Truthforce" in the same sentence, we couldn't help noticing that two seemingly unrelated items—this CU policy concerning "Amorous Relationships", and Natsu "Truthforce" Saito's testimony that her then-future boss/husband at CU was staying at her house in Atlanta when he wrote his "little eichmanns" essay—are, um, less unrelated than they seem. Lucky for Churchill the policy went into effect April 1, 2005; he and his fourth wife, Saito, were married a week previous, on March 24th. Unfortunately, CU appears to have had a similar "amorous relationship" policy in effect there since 1999 (as referenced in a CU document available via Google cache; may disappear at any time). Then there's CU's policy against nepotism, in effect since 1972: "University administrators, faculty and staff shall not participate in institutional decisions involving direct benefits such as appointments, retentions, promotions, salaries, leaves of absence or awards to members of their immediate families." Again, lucky for The Perfesser that Georgia stopped recognizing common law marriage in 1997.

'Fragging officers would have a much more impactful effect.'

Quote of the Day: "Reality, being Reality, needs no voice. Truth, being the human perception of Reality, does. And 'truth', being an adulteration of Truth and a misinterpretation of Reality, needs to shout repeatedly."

Vox Academiae, Vox Dei

by Jim Paine

One of the most shameful aspects of the entire Churchill burlesque has been the gaggle of professors willing to sacrifice whatever integrity and credibility they may have had to save the waning career of an accomplished liar. For Churchill to maintain—despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary—his position on any number of academic subjects suggests a sociopath's response to confrontation, and in that regard, it is understandable, though not forgivable. But for someone else—particularly after wrapping themselves in the mantle of academia—to publicly defend such a charlatan is contemptible.

While it would be possible to write an entire book about the dozens of dittoheads in the Ethnic Studies Echo Chamber, it might prove problematic to separate the willfully mendacious from the simply stupid, and so, for the sake of brevity, I'll confine myself to a few of the principals:

Take American Studies professor Michael Yellow Bird, for instance. Squarely in the "simply stupid" category, Yellow Bird said on the witness stand during Teh Trial (and earlier, in testimony during CU's investigation) that "a fabricated, made-up account promote[s] truth." One must admire Yellow Bird for—if no other reason—completely destroying his own credibility with just seven words—and not a single one over four syllables.

Moving into willful mendacity territory, there's Eric Cheyfitz, a professor in the English Department at Cornell University who fancies himself a Native American history expert (his degrees are in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing). Cheyfitz has been in the vanguard of Churchill apologists, writing a letter back in October 2006 to interim CU chancellor Phil DiStefano asking him to reverse his recommendation to fire Churchill, partially on the grounds that Churchill's work had been veted before (during the hiring and promotion processes) and that to do so again would constitute some sort of academic double-jeopardy (a legal principle Cheyfitz appears to have invented for the occasion). Later, Cheyfitz would put Yellow Bird's novel theories about historical truth to good use interpreting the alleged deathbed speech of Chief Four Bears:

"I mean, it's quite clear what the speech says—it says whites spread smallpox. And although it doesn't say the Army spread smallpox, we can assume, I think—safely assume—that amongst those white people that Four Bears was referencing in that speech he certainly had the Army in mind as part of it, since the Indians' major interaction with white people was with the Army."
The pertinent text of that "deathbed speech" (full text here; scroll to page 6), by the way, is:
"[...] all that you hold dear, are all Dead, or Dying, with their faces all rotten, caused by those dogs the whites"

Not seeing the Army blanket reference? Don't feel bad; As Cheyfitz has noted (in The Ithaca Journal, link now unavailable) "[i]f you're not an expert in Native American Studies, it's impossible to understand." (PB took a look at some of Cheyfitz's other flights of fancy here. And here. And here.)

If you own a derision bazooka, sociology professor Tom Mayer is a target-rich environment all by himself. He's signed his name to any number of "Unfire Ward Churchill" petitions—and then there's all those embarrassing mash notes to Churchill published as letters to the editor in local newspapers. There is no scholarly sin Mayer cannot forgive of Churchill; in a laughable defense of Churchill against multiple charges of plagiarism, he assumes that a victim's unwillingness to testify somehow negates concrete proof of plagiarism; further, he pretends Churchill's unethical ghostwriting of a scholarly paper that Rebecca Robbins submitted under her own name (and who, on advice of counsel, declined to testify)—and which Churchill later plagiarized in a book of his own—is so unremarkable, perhaps even commonplace, that it should be beneath academic notice. Mayer's stance is wide enough to not only straddle both the mendacious and stupid categories, but to require the creation of a third: Creepy hero-worship.

Finally, law professor Natsu Saito. Four years ago I bore some initial respect for Professor Saito, reasoning that her marriage to Churchill did not mean she shared his penchant for fabrication. That was until her reviews on of her own and Churchill's books came to light, reviews written under the nickname "Truthforce." Instead of admitting to what I would consider a rather childish subterfuge, when I confronted her with the reviews, she denied having written them. One may be excused for any apparent lack of sympathy for the tears she cried on the stand during Teh Trial. Saito, by the way, teaches legal ethics. Also by the way: One of PB's regular readers, Noj, previously examined a Counterpunch apologia for Churchill that Saito wrote, and found it almost entirely fact-free.

These, then, are the "experts" who have provided material support for Churchill's house of cards; some were paraded in Churchill's defense at Teh Trial. They've each lied, ignored evidence, or publicly professed obviously preposterous explanations of Churchill's similarly preposterous claims, and in doing so, each one of these "professors" brings disgrace—not only to him or herself—but to the entire profession of teaching.

Addendum: Perhaps a better title for this essay would have been "Vox Academiae, Vox Mendacem"

CNews 12April09

Race To The Bottom provides some detailed legal insight into the issues the judge will consider during the hearing to reinstate Ward Churchill—and reaches a disappointing conclusion. (ht Leah)
Interesting Excerpt:

The jury decided specifically that CU did not fire Churchill for the permissible reason of research misconduct, but for his protected speech in the 9/11 Essay. Thus, under the Squires case, the jury has already decided the issue relating to research misconduct constituting grounds for dismissal. And ostensibly, Judge [Larry] Naves cannot reexamine this issue, as CU will certainly request.
...Actually, from the wording of the jury instructions ("Have the Defendants shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the Plaintiff would have been dismissed for other reasons even in the absence of the protected speech activity[?]"), it seems to us that it's just as likely that the jury concluded that after 20 years of failure to investigate serious charges of academic misconduct and plagiarism against Churchill, CU would have simply continued to ignore the problem had not The Perfesser himself labored so mightily to attract attention. In either situation, it looks like CU can kiss the baby.

'There is no truth.'

Meanwhile, perhaps on advice of counsel, The Perfesser does a little spin control regarding that "million dollars" he was quoted as wanting should CU not reinstate him:

[Churchill] reiterated in a telephone interview Friday that his only goal is to get back his job.

"My bedrock position is I was wrongfully terminated on spurious and deeply fraudulent grounds," he said. "I am not seeking a monetary settlement."

Churchill, 61, said that if a judge tries to give him money, rather than reinstatement at CU, "I would challenge it."
"Spurious and deeply fraudulent." Well, he would know.

'US off the planet!'

Down Durango way, Churchill pillories Fort Lewis College President Brad Bartel for boycotting The Perfesser's lout-shouting there Saturday:

Before the event, Churchill stole away with his wife, Natsu Saito, also a speaker at the event, to smoke an unfiltered cigarette on a third-floor deck of the building. In his deep, authoritative voice, he offered a free reading lesson to FLC President Brad Bartel, a new adversary.

"I would be pleased to comment upon the integrity of President Bartel's scholarship, but have thus far failed to locate any," Churchill said.

Bartel had pre-empted the speaker's visit, sending out a release Wednesday advising regional news media that a "club of approximately six students" had invited Churchill to campus.


In an e-mail to the Herald, Churchill issued a response.

He accused Bartel of attempting to subvert a student-sponsored event with the same justification used by CU to fire him - accusations, he said, inconsistent with the findings of a Colorado jury.

"President Bartel's position disrespects not only the Constitution, (but also) the findings of the jury, relying upon political and personal bias rather than facts," he wrote.

CNews 11April09

Member of that most rare species of insects, coprophagii churchilliae, Tom Mayer once again leaps to the fray with an LttE in defense of The Perfesser (ht Leah)

Contrary to the claims of the CU administration, the reinstatement of Ward Churchill to his professorship in the Ethnic Studies Department would be enormously beneficial to the University of Colorado. Professor Churchill is an outstanding teacher. Several graduates of CU have told me that Churchill's courses were the most memorable and thought provoking ones they ever had. Current students have said they keenly desire to take his classes. Contrary to the impressions one might get from the media, Professor Churchill is an original, prolific, and highly influential scholar. He has developed a distinctive interpretation of Native American history and its relation to the travails of indigenous people in other parts of the globe. Ward Churchill's presence on the CU campus encourages that critical discussion of controversial issues which should be the lifeblood of a serious university.

Sorry, we couldn't stand to read any more, and besides, our attorney cautions us that several recent cases have firmly established the conditions under which the crime of internet cruelty can be proven, and further, that Mayer's saccharine vomitus meets or exceeds those conditions. You're welcome.

...Meanwhile, another LttE writer, John O'Neill, questions Churchill's intentional Mandan smallpox epidemic meme. (ht, Leah again!)

I wonder if it occurred to any of Professor Ward Churchill's "students" at the University of Colorado that the concept of sending smallpox-infested blankets to kill off Mandan Indians would have had some practical difficulties. Here's Lt. Johnson yelling at Pvt. Smith and Pvt. Jones "Hey, you two guys -- load those smallpox blankets on board the boat and be careful of them, they're dangerous! And, by the way, don't even think of telling anybody what we're going to do with them!" Then there's the problem of who is going to distribute the blankets to the Indians upon arrival at their encampment -- "Any volunteers?"
Unfortunately, variolation existed in the West even prior to the Revolutionary War (Washington, his face scarred from his own battle with smallpox, insisted his soildiers be variolated), so it would have been no problem finding volunteers immune to smallpox. Naturally, that doesn't mean it happened (Churchill hasn't been able to provide evidence of that in 20 years); it just moots the O'Neill's argument.

'There is no truth.'

As we mentioned a few days ago, The Perfesser will be helping Montrealians fulfill their adult minimum daily requirements of specious guilt April 15th (ht Leah for the new link)

CNews 10April09

DrunkaIGotNothin finds a post-Verdict interview with The Perfesser over at WBAI New York. Blah-blah-bla—you get the picture.

'US off the planet!'

Race to the Bottom has a very interesting examination of the One Dollar Verdict™, in particular, the legal fees & court costs, and the hurdles Churchill's three attorneys (yes, three!) must leap in order to collect same. (ht Leah)

While Churchill will be entitled to reasonable attorney fees and expert witness fees, there are a few hurdles left. At least Churchill avoided an allocation problem with the fees since his complaint was amended to drop alternative claims in contract that would not have been entitled to an award of attorney fees. Consequently, all the legal fees in pursuing Churchill's 1st amendment claim (his entire case), could be awarded in the discretion of Judge Naves.  However, Judge Naves will scrutinize the request for attorney fees where multiple attorneys are involved for redundancy. Since Churchill had three attorneys attending the trial, Churchill’s attorneys may be asked to justify this redundancy.

Another hurdle is whether the pre-litigation costs can be awarded and in particular, the legal fees in representing Churchill during the Investigative Committee’s investigation and the Privilege & Tenure Committee investigation. Generally, prelitigation legal fees are scrutinized to ensure that they are related to the constitutional claim. While Churchill must have incurred substantial legal fees related to CU’s internal investigations, it would be difficult to justify these legal fees which could eventually ripen into several legal claims, not just the constitutional claim.


'I was hired for what I do.'

PB reader F.D. Castle points us to a New York Times article about CU student and faculty reactions to a possible Churchill reinstatement

“I don’t think he should come back,” said Marissa Jaross, a senior anthropology major. Though Ms. Jaross said she believed the university was looking for a way to get rid of him, she added: “I think he’s kind of a shoddy academic. I wouldn’t look at his work as great, or even worthy of my time.”


“I would welcome his return to campus,” said Margaret LeCompte, an education professor who said she had always thought the university wanted to get rid of Mr. Churchill because of his comments about Sept. 11.

“He is a well-respected teacher, even by students who disagree with him — the kind of a person who should be at a university, where a dialogue of controversial ideas can be held in a safe environment,” Professor LeCompte said.

BTW: DrunkaReadsEverythingAllTheWayThrough has more on Professor LeCompte (signatory to the 2005 "Stop Investigating Ward Churchill" letter), as well as the article and the preditable resolution passed Tuesday by the American Association of University Professors:

"We believe the disputes over Ward Churchill's publications should have been allowed to work themselves out in traditional scholarly venues, not referred to disciplinary hearings. We believe Churchill should be reinstated to his faculty position at the University of Colorado."

CU, incidentally, had 20 years to allow the disputes to "work themselves out." We're reminded of one of our favorite rotating banner quotes, from that cockeyed optimist, George Orwell: "Some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual could believe them."

'You got a trigger finger, so that's one possibility.'

Over at Westword, Patricia Calhoun has a wonderful take on CU's boast that it would "vigorously challenge" Churchill's reinstatement:

"Vigorously challenge"? That should be a refreshing change from the way CU defended itself in the trial that ended last week with a jury finding that Churchill had been fired for exercising his First Amendment rights -- even it it only awarded him a buck in damages. The school has plenty of real reasons to keep Churchill off its teaching roster, but in its early failure to "vigorously challenge" the controversial prof has CU's new bluster looking a day late -- and now a dollar short.

'Blah, blah, blah.'

Tech Note: We've received a provisional fix from Pivotlog's programmers to the AOL comment problem, and we've made the programming changes suggested. AOL users should be able to comment here now without fear of that comment being identified erroneously as spam. As always, if you experience a problem posting a comment here, email us (and include the complete text of your comment in the email, please).

CNews 9April09

The Daily Camera is reporting that CU intends to "vigorously challenge" Churchill's reinstatement (ht Leah)

'You carry the weapon'

Fort Lewis College president will boycott Churchill's lout-shouting there this weekend (ht—who else?—Leah, who also points out that according to this article, somebody—you'll never guess who—believes not all speech is protected; she also wonders if The Perfesser ever gets invited to college campuses by more than "perhaps six students")

Can you say 'comprachico'?

Gary Kamiya at observes: "Ward Churchill's win is scholarship's loss" (ht Leah)

To put it mildly, Churchill was not an ideal poster child for the cause of academic freedom. If right-wing critics of the university had set out to create a perfect caricature of a tenured radical who sacrifices scholarship for advocacy, they couldn't have come up with a better one than Churchill.
Kamiya does a very good job of synopsizing the decades-long Churchill burlesque and assessing blame:
[T]he fact that the investigation would probably never have taken place had Churchill's essay not become notorious does not mean that Churchill did not engage in serious academic misconduct. The report that resulted from the investigation shows that he did -- and it implicitly indicts not just Churchill, but the University of Colorado. It should not have taken a public outcry to make the university look into Churchill's dubious scholarship. Beyond that, the portrait of Churchill that emerges from the report raises serious questions about why he was hired in the first place.
Wacking the Bush Administration* seems to have replaced the "obligatory sex scene" in intellectual works (and who could deny that Pacifism As Pathology would have benefited from a couple of Penthouse Letters-like interludes?); likewise, we suppose that it just wouldn't be if they didn't tie Churchill's fabulism and CU's incompetence to—you guessed it:
Ironically, and sadly, Churchill's approach to history and truth is remarkably similar to the Bush administration's. The only difference is that his propaganda is on the left, and theirs is on the right. For both, "reality" is what they say it is, and empirical evidence is just a bunch of meaningless window dressing. The Bush neocons "knew" that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 and had weapons of mass destruction, just as Churchill "knew" that the U.S. Army intentionally spread smallpox among the Mandan Indians. The senior Bush aide who famously told Ron Suskind that "we create our own reality" could have spoken for Churchill.

* Not that there's anything wrong with that


'US off the planet!'

Tech Note: We've confirmed that the erroneous "spam" messages received by AOL users when they attempt to post comments to our threads here at PB are entirely due to AOL's browser using multiple IP addresses while accessing each page (technically speaking, AOL uses multiple proxy servers for load-balancing; most non-AOL browsers use a single IP address). The only suggested work-around from the programmers would reduce our spam-killer's effectiveness significantly, which we will not do. So, until a better work-around/fix is developed, we suggest to our AOL visitors that they download a stand-alone browser (such as Firefox, Safari, Opera, or, gulp, even MSIE) and use that while surfing (external browsers will work with your AOL connection). Or, better: Abandon AOL and its training-wheels-on-a-skateboard mentality altogether and get a real ISP.

CNews 8April09

Jodi Rave offers a Native American take on Churchill, Teh Trial, and the One Dollar Victory™

The verdict was no big surprise. Chief Denver District Judge Larry Naves will decide if CU must rehire Churchill or pay him a lump sum of money for lost wages.

If the judge reinstates him, CU officials will get what they deserve.

Many of us Native people exercised our free speech more than a decade ago: We told the university Churchill isn't what he pretends to be.


For anyone who missed the eagle feather [Churchill carried with him to the witness stand], the former ethnic studies professor did his best to convey some sort of connection to indigenous people. Churchill wore a bold-patterned, Native-designed jacket the day the jury announced a verdict. So, who is Churchill trying to convince with his tribal get-up?

When I saw Churchill with the eagle feather, I was reminded of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its special agents who are doing eagle feather raids across the country, busting what seems to be mostly Native people in illegal possession of the protected birds. It should be noted that only members of federally recognized tribes are allowed to possess eagle feathers. Perhaps federal agents should expand their undercover investigation to include white university professors.

As she mentions in her op-ed, Rave interviewed Churchill for her journalism class back in 1993.

little goebbels

The Denver Post publishes the dumbest op-ed ever.

I learned things about these [former Nazis in Huntsville, Alabama] that are not in the textbooks. Do you want to know the scariest comparison, something that will keep you up late at night? Get ready. This is chilling.

These Germans went to the grocery store, watched TV, went to church, celebrated Christmas, said grace before dinner, laughed, played and enjoyed sports. In other words the Evil Monsters I read about in my history book were, in person, just like me. While many are outraged at Churchill for comparing people to a Nazi, I have literally never met a Nazi I didn't like.

It's an irrelevant distinction, we guess, that the author of this op-ed (probably) did not voluntarily join the ranks of a political organization dedicated to world conquest and the eradication of Jews, Slavs, gypsies, homosexuals, activists, socialists, communists, Freemasons, Jehovah's Witnesses, the mentally ill, and people suffering incurable diseases. BTW: Hitler was kind to his dog. Hey! Nazis really are just like us.

BTW: Leonard Peikoff wrote a very good book back in 1982 comparing the U.S. to Nazi Germany (and to conditions in Germany just prior to ascendency of Nazism) called The Ominous Parallels

CNews 7April09

Drunkablog reports on a Bill Husted (Denver Post) squib alleging that Ward Churchill was seen celebrating his One Dollar Victory™ at New York New York in Las Vegas. Careful, Perfesser. The only places you can stuff a buck in Vegas are places that either give you nothing or give you crabs. Or so we've heard.


'When the Pope died I made [the] front page.'

The Daily Camera is reporting that Churchill will ask for more than $1 million if Judge Naves doesn't give him his job back

"If it would make a bunch of people uncomfortable on the Boulder campus, what's the argument?" Churchill said. "They violated my rights, therefore to spare them discomfort I should not be restored to what I was unlawfully deprived of? That's somewhat tenuous."

For those at CU who can't stand having him so close, Churchill has an offer:

"If it really makes you that uncomfortable, you're free to leave," he said.
What about us little eichmanns who pay the taxes that keep CU running? Are we free to stop?

'I was hired for what I do.'

John Tomasic at the Colorado Independent does his part to reinforce the meme that the accusations against Churchill of plagiarism, unethical ghost-writing, and historical fraud were really nothing more than symptoms of a scholarly turf war hoi polloi could never understand and certainly have no right to judge.

It’s a credit to the jury members in the Churchill trial that they sat, listened and apparently learned how what Fish calls “the game” of academic publishing and politics works.

In the end, Churchill survived a “review process” few professionals in any field would look forward to and that many would not expect to withstand.
What makes Tomasic think this jury, with not a scholar among them, so obviously ill-equipped to understand the intricate lacework of academic turf wars (let alone the charges of plagiarism, unethical ghost-writing, and historical fraud Tomasic neglects to mention), made the right decision?

'Fragging officers would have a much more impactful effect.'

Tech Note: Several visitors have reported that their comments are being rejected by a spam-checking procedure we use called HashCash. We note that in most of these cases, the visitors are using AOL's built-in browser.AOL, for some odd reason, establishes multiple connections while retrieving a single page (for instance, a recently rejected commenter accessed PB via six different IPs just to retrieve that one page). We've reported this to the developers of the software we use, and hope a solution is forthcoming. In the meantime, we suggest AOL surfers download the most recent version of Firefox and use it rather than AOL's built-in POS browser. Doing so will (or should) alleviate the erroneous comment rejections.

CNews 6April09

Stanley Fish at the New York Times asks a stupid question

How did a garden-variety academic quarrel about sources,evidence and documentation complete with a lot of huffing and puffing by everyone get elevated first into a review of the entire life of a tenured academic and then into a court case when that academic was terminated.

and then thoughtfully provides the stupid answer himself. The essay is Chutchillian in its mendacity. (ht McKreck)

...and Larry DeWitt serendipitously provides some real answers (ht Leah)

Anyone who had ever bothered to read anything Churchill had written, or heard any of his speeches, would have instantly been able to detect their quality—unless they were wearing a certain type of intellectual blinders. The type of blinders at work here, I suggest, are what I have referred to as one of the five main forms of postmodern declension in historical scholarship—Multicultural Postmodernism—in which we do not demand of certain historical narratives the full measure of objective rigor, if they are narratives in service of the favored clients of the postmodern academy, i.e., women, minorities, the victims of imperialism, etc.


It turns out [the intentional smallpox infection] story was completely fabricated by Churchill. In his 1997 pastiche, A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present, Churchill neatly juxtaposes two separate stories so that he can elide the distinctions between them, so as to give the appearance that the two stories support a broader claim. This deliberate use of misleading juxtapositions as a substitute for evidence is a common technique throughout Churchill’s corpus of work. When evidence is lacking, he merely glides over the problem by implying that one piece of information proves the next because they appear in consecutive paragraphs.


I might also be impolitic enough to observe that it is no accident that a pseudo-scholar like Ward Churchill could find himself a departmental chairman in an Ethnic Studies program. Such programs—along with Cultural Studies and Women’s Studies programs—are non-traditional academic disciplines in many respects, not the least of which is their apparent attitude toward traditional scholarly practices. Indeed, these types of programs often have more of the character of Political Action Committees than they do the character of scholarly research programs. Women’s Studies programs, for example, make a central function of their operations—and a central point of their appeal to young female students—the idea that they exist to empower women.

When political motive is allowed to intermingle so promiscuously with scholarship, a diminished valorization of objectivity is inevitable. And the hiring of scholars based on their political correctness rather than their scholarship seems just as inevitably to follow. It is hard to think of any other explanation for the rise of such a merit-less poser as Ward Churchill.

...and Professor Thomas Brown examines Churchill's claims and finds them chockful of "truthiness"
None of Churchill’s sources corroborate his story, and no historian who has studied this episode has ever even mentioned an Army presence within eight hundred miles of Fort Clark – which was a fur trading depot, not a military installation.

Churchill has since abandoned all of the fabricated aspects of his story, while simultaneously claming that he did not fabricate it, because he still feels in his gut that the story is correct.
  • Churchill now says that when he indicted “Army officers” for passing out smallpox blankets to the Mandans, he meant to refer to the local Indian agent instead.
  • Churchill now admits that he has no evidence that any blankets came from an Army smallpox infirmary in St. Louis. His new story is that genocidal blankets were brought from Baltimore by a disgruntled fur trader.
  • Churchill now says that when he indicted “Army doctors” at Fort Clark for violating quarantine in order to deliberately infect more Indians, he meant to refer to fur traders doing so.
  • Churchill now holds that when he said that the Mandan tribe had been deliberately infected, he used the word “Mandan” not to refer to the actual Mandan tribe, but instead to refer to all Indian tribes in the Northern Plains, extending across the border into Canada.
Brown's money quote:
[A]n honest scholar is expected to distinguish his fictions from his facts, and to disclose which is which to his readers. Churchill was fired for presenting his fictions as conclusive, “documentable” facts – even though the sources he cites contradict his assertions.

CNews 5April09

The Daily Camera's Erika Stutzman says "No Winners in Churchill Case" (ht Leah)

For the record, the school and others blew it. Churchill, after being a lecturer from 1978 to 1990, was awarded tenure by CU in 1991 without the typical six-year evaluation and probationary period, without a Ph.D. and apparently without a rigorous review of his work by outside experts.

Then, following the long-delayed outrage over Churchill's 9/11 essay, political leaders including the former governor, state legislators and some regents, said he should be fired, signaling their personal wishes for political reprisal for free speech.

But, despite what Churchill's supporters say now, the school's review of Churchill didn't find the broomsticks and pointy hats one would find in a witch hunt. What they found was serious enough to fire Churchill and enough for the judge to hopefully determine his services are no longer appropriate for the CU campus.

And it has nothing to do with anything he has ever, or will ever, say regarding 9/11. For the record: We don't care.


'US off the planet!'

Tech Note: Some astute (or bored) PB readers may have noticed the appearance and disappearance of "test" comments over the past two days. The email notification option for commenters was not working, and we were trying different configurations to discover the problem. We've identified it as a disagreement between the way Microsoft likes its SMTP headers, and the way PHP likes its SMTP headers. We've edited the various lines in the blog software to deal with this conflict, and those commenters who wanted to be notified of new replies to various comment threads should now properly receive emails (if they asked to be notified and provided an email address). The fix also ensures that newly-registered visitors will receive a welcoming email, and those who have forgotten their passwords will receive emails (when they request them) reminding them of same.

Update: Another recurring problem has been the inappropriate identification of some comments as spam (meaning they were prohibited from being posted). This is due to a process called "HashCash", which parses comments when they are submitted for prohibited words and phrases to keep PB's comments from becoming filled with advertisements for cialis, viagra, college girls "having fun", ad absurdum. HashCash does a great job (it stopped over three dozen advertisements from being posted in just the past 24 hours), but it also occasionally nails an otherwise innocent comment (it was nailing quite a few of them until we de-bowdlerized the prohibited word-list). So, if your comment was incorrectly identified as spam, don't assume you've been banned (while possible, the only visitors we've banned are Snapple, a couple of members of DBAB who bored us, and all commenters who used anonymizer proxies). The best remedy for this if it happens to you is to email us the exact comment so we can check HashCash's word-list and correct it (or tell you why it was prohibited so you can modify it and try reposting).

CNews 4April09

Churchill juror Bethany Newill has, like, her 15 Minutes (ht Retired Bill)

[T]he juror who opposed compensation "was like: Well, I can't," Newill said, declining to identify that juror.

"She was like, she couldn't even stand to give him a dollar. We saw where she was coming from. She felt that he ruined his own reputation and that when you put something out there, even though it is protected speech, there are consequences."

With the lone holdout refusing to come around and the possibility of a hung jury looming, the others eventually agreed to the notion of a symbolic award of $1.

A lone holdout.... A woman intelligent enough to insist that Churchill fouled his own nest, and that actions have consequences. A woman strong enough to sway the collective will of five other jurors. Maybe it's just Spring, but we believe we are in love.

'When the Pope died I made [the] front page.'

Meanwhile, the experts mull over what happens next (ht Leah)

Analysts disagree as to whether [a motion to reinstate Churchill at CU] will succeed.

At a yet-to-be-scheduled hearing, Chief Denver District Judge Larry Naves can either return Churchill to the Boulder campus or award him a "front pay" lump sum to account for future lost income.

Denver defense attorney and legal analyst Scott Robinson predicts Churchill will once again stride across campus as a fully tenured professor. Giving him anything less than his job, he said, is tantamount to "rejecting the verdict."

"(The judge) has to uphold the verdict in a way that makes sense," Robinson said Friday.

But Martin Katz, an associate professor at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law, bets against reinstatement.

The employment and constitutional law expert said it's too likely that Churchill's presence at CU would cause friction and, due to the history of bad blood between the former professor and others at the school, lead to future litigation at every twist and turn.

'US off the planet!'

...And Vince Carroll at long last appreciates this perfect day (ht Leah):

It turns out that the proper political response to vile statements by a public employee is ... silence — or, at most, a bland and ambivalent expression of discontent.

One should never, for example, dub an outrageous statement "disgraceful" or suggest it brought "dishonor" to an institution. Both of those strong words were employed by CU's regents in response to Churchill's 9/11 essay glorifying terrorism, and we've been instructed that their use was a mistake. Worse than a mistake, actually: These expressions of opinion themselves became, through some strange alchemy that I still strain to understand, an assault on free speech.

A professor is free to say anything; public officials are, too, so long as they don't say much of anything about the professor.

'You have a trigger finger, don't you?'

For the intellectually anorexic among us, Julian Friedland over at the Daily Camera graciously whips up a literary emetic:

Radical voices like Churchill's are crucial to a vibrant democracy, especially in a field such as ethnic studies, which strives to re-assess received historical interpretations.

'You got a trigger finger, so that's one possibility.'

Our nominee for Best Forum Comment On Churchill's Victory Award

I used to work in a university that was crawling with clowns like Ward Churchill. Sacking college professors for poor scholarship at that place would be like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.

'There is no truth.'

From our Ixnay On The Elonyfay, Ussray department: If this 2003 New York Times article concerning pardons that was posted on a forum back in January is authentic,  Russ Means is chiefly facilitating his own embarrassment (if, of course, he's even capable of that emotion)
Mr. Means, a [South Dakota Governor Bill] Janklow friend who ran for a tribal presidency last fall, said Mr. Janklow pardoned him for a felony conviction for the riot. ”It seals my records, so I don’t even have to admit I have ever been in prison or committed a felony,” Mr. Means said.
We hasten to point out that the NYT article may be a forgery; the reporting certainly seems below standard for the Times (for instance, "the riot" mentioned is never identified in the article, although it's possible the entire article was not posted). And while we would never underestimate the stupidity of Mr. Means, to admit he committed a felony by saying his record was sealed so he'd never have to admit he commited a felony strikes us as bag-of-hammers stupid, which we assume he is not. Of course, we could be wrong.
Update: We were wrong—Means is that stupid. Our apologies to bags of hammers everywhere.

The Aftermath

Race To The Bottom has a post covering the courtroom when and after the verdict was read

The likely next move for CU, according to Lane, is to file a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, which is a request to set aside the jury verdict. A Native American elder interrupted Mr. Lane during this press questioning to say, in an emotional voice, “Your words have honored the dead of Fort Clark. You have wrapped a blanket around the Constitution and it doesn’t have smallpox in it.”

'US off the planet!'

CU faculty house organ Silver & Gold Record has a special supplement covering the verdict (ht Leah)

Churchill spoke briefly to reporters after the verdict, and then said he was leaving to gain "some silence and some repose." He thanked his attorneys and family, and also thanked the "right-wing interests" that he said conspired with the University against him. "What we asked for and what we got, was justice," Churchill said. "The fraud and the University's campaign and collaboration with private right-wing interests, transpired over the past four years, has been exposed for what it is. I owe it in part to [talk-radio hosts Dan] Caplis and [Craig] Silverman. I owe it in part to [former Rocky Mountain News editorial page Editor] Vincent Carroll."

Churchill said the jury found that he was wrongly fired, and that it was a politically motivated firing. "Reinstatement follows rather naturally, wouldn't you say?"

Easy, there, "Doctor." BTW: Leah notes that all the tea-leaf reading in the media about the significance of the One Dollar damages award misses the most obvious: The 20-something jury was simply too lazy to argue any more with the lone holdout who didn't want to give Churchill anything.

'You have a trigger finger, don't you?'

...and Churchill's dog, Benjie, has some "inside scuttlebutt" about the trial, filtered through the veracious lips of David Lane:

There’s some inside scuttlebutt here. David Lane got to talk to the jurors after the case, and word has it they had the following couple of salient points to offer:
  1. Up until the reading of the final instructions by the judge, the jurors thought they were to be deliberating on whether or not Ward had committed academic fraud, pure and simple. It’s an understandable error, given the nature of the witnesses.  Their unanimous finding was that Ward hadn’t committed any fraud worthy of the name.
  2. The jurors were disgusted by the repetition of Ward’s protected speech by O’Rourke, including the quotes from the audio that Craig Silverman kept pushing at O’Rourke; they felt this clearly showed the nature of CU’s witchhunt.

Despite our suspicion that any similarities between what Benjie says Lane says the jury said and the truth are purely coincidental, we can't help but notice that both points are mirror reflections of what we've been saying for weeks: That CU needed to impeach Churchill's "scholarship" witnesses (so easy even two bloggers and a New Jersey cop could do it) and failing to do so vastly befouled CU's jury-perceived motivations; and CU "defense attorney" Patrick O'Rourke's dwelling for more than a nanosecond on Churchill's incendiary speech was a mistake of galactic proportions.

'Inherently political.'

From our Be Careful What You Wish For department: In our July 17, 2006 post "The Rime of the Academic Administrator" we discussed CU's culpability in the Churchill fiasco, and concluded

The University of Colorado at Boulder should be required to employ Ward Churchill for the rest of his natural life; it should be required to wear the albatross of Churchill's rotting academic reputation around its neck until Churchill himself passes away in his sleep, preferably after celebrating his 101st birthday. CU's administrators should have to wake up every morning for the next few decades knowing just how miserably they failed.
Update: And a surprisingly astute CBS News analysis concurs (although its conclusion—don't grant tenure—while worthy of serious consideration, is vastly more merciful than ours)
The University is surely to blame for the mess it finds itself in. There is no excuse for the lack of due diligence it performed upon Churchill before it granted him tenure. If school officials had investigated him as fully before they gave him the job they almost surely would have walked away from a deal. But the jury’s verdict means that it’s now too late to do so. Unless Churchill commits murder, or is found to be a drug kingpin, or completely stops showing up to class, CU seems stuck with him until he decides he wants to leave.

little goebbels

Michael Roberts over at Westword attempts a rehabilitation on juror/Valley girl Bethany Newill wherein she—and by extension, her fellow jurors—took their responsibilities seriously.

CU's O'Rourke spent day after day backing up the university's charges of plagiarism and other scholarly crimes against Churchill -- a presentation that press accounts characterized as boring, but which Newill describes as "pretty interesting." In the end, however, she wasn't entirely convinced that Churchill had committed sins against academia. "I definitely saw where [the university] was coming from on a few of them," she concedes -- but in other instances, "I thought they had really weak arguments. To me, it just seemed like the charges were trumped up. And even if all of those things were true, we didn't feel that was the reason for termination."


At first, Newill reveals, the jury thought part of their duty was to weigh in on the strength of CU's academic-misconduct evidence. Once they understood they only had to decide whether Churchill had been dismissed for Constitutionally protected speech, the six quickly agreed. But they had much more difficulty reaching a consensus on the damage amount. Newill says she and the other jurors "were all very uncomfortable" with this portion of the verdict. "We even asked the judge if he could do it. We really didn't want anything to do with that."

'I was hired for what I do.'

Columnist David Lindorff over at Counterpunch lies baldly while chortling "Hooray for Juries!"

The academic committee impaneled to investigate him claimed that Churchill had plagiarized articles, but in truth the works they referred to which Churchill had quoted in some of his work were things he had himself written earlier, either anonymously, or with other writers. He was, in other words, being accused of plagiarizing from himself.

'Fragging officers would have a much more impactful effect.'

Last but never least, Drunkablog has a bizarre roundup of the blognoscenti's reactions to the verdict

Ex-Try-Works creep Fire Witch Rising:
Huzzah! to the Good Professor!

Oh, and Charlie Brennan of the now defunct Rocky Mountain News, which led this hateful attempt at character assassination, please go fuck yourself forthwith - with the largest rolled up newspaper you can find. Bad dog! You have always been a loser and a coward and you always will be.

Today you and all your witch-hunting scum have gone down in much deserved flames. Prepare to be forever humiliated for your lies. Fuckers.

We won! We won! We won! OH. GOD. JOY! We won! Thank you, Dear Jury of the young. You are all our heroes today.

Churchill Snatches Victory From The Slack-Jaws of CU

The jury has reached its verdict: The University of Colorado at Boulder improperly fired Ethnics Studies professor Ward Churchill; the jury awards Churchill One Dollar in damages.

Since we've made no effort to hide our contempt for CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke's mishandling of his defense of CU, it should come as no surprise to our readers that we now lay CU's defeat directly at O'Rourke's clown shoes. Churchill did not win this case; O'Rourke lost it. And since all problems can be traced back to management, CU is the ultimate perpetrator of this four-year (some would say 20-year) farce.

CU's Achilles' heel has always been its own sloth and incompetence, in the hiring process, the investigatory process, and finally, in the legal defense process. CU administrators were aware that Churchill's scholarship qualifications consisted of a few mostly co-authored screeds on the usual leftist memes, and a masters degree in a bonehead major from an experimental college, yet they hired him as an Ethnic Studies professor with tenure. And CU administrators were made aware of serious problems with Churchill's version(s) of history long before the "Little Eichmanns" essay re-emerged from obscurity back in January 2005, yet they did nothing.

It took the public outrage surrounding that essay to finally goad CU into action, putting into motion a process that lasted four years. Churchill had every opportunity to present his case, and in every instance he failed. His termination back in 2007 was the result, as was his inevitable suit against CU, the conclusion of which we have before us today.

Once the initial public outrage faded, unfortunately, CU returned to its happy place: sloth and incompetence. During the trial, David Lane used CU's own witnesses to illustrate those qualities, and CU's attorney, Patrick O'Rourke was unable to counter Lane's sallies simply because O'Rourke exemplifies CU's commitment to sloth and incompetence. Perhaps he is a shark feared by medical litigants worldwide, but in a civil rights case with a very obvious villain (and admittedly a less-than-sympathetic good guy), O'Rourke was hopelessly outmatched.

And so, of course, Churchill won. It is a sad commentary that CU was unable to defeat a documented plagiarist and historical fraud, but we consider it the inevitable result of decades of sloth and incompetence. As others have noted with elegant simplicity, CU deserves Churchill. The question Colorado voters (and CU alumni) must now ask themselves is equally simple: Does CU deserve their support?

An aside: For the first time in at least two years, we've been listening to the live feed of KHOW radio (to hear of the verdict as soon as possible). The station features the show Caplis & Silverman, who for the past few days have seemed convinced that CU needed to slam the jury with sound-bite after sound-bite of Churchill's many incendiary remarks. We doubt few things O'Rourke could have done would have helped Churchill's case more, but this is one of those things. CU dwelling on Churchill's outrageous remarks would have further convinced the jury that CU's firing of Churchill was motivated by those remarks rather than by outrage at his plagiarism, his unethical ghostwriting practices, and his historical fraud.

Can you say 'comprachico'?

Update: Race To The Bottom reports that whether Churchill actually gets his job back at CU is a decision Judge Naves will make in 30 days, during which time attorneys for Churchill and CU may file motions.

Update II: The Daily Camera's John Aguilar notes (ht SidtheSquid)

Chief Denver District Judge Larry Naves will decide at a separate hearing whether Churchill, 61, is reinstated at CU or given a lump sum of money instead.

Update III: Sorry, Ward, but the position of University Fool is already taken (ht Leah) But they'll no-doubt keep your application on file should similar openings become available in the future.

Update IV: University of Denver Law Professor Thomas D. Russell reminds us that we posted his astute predictions of a low damages award way back in November, 2006.

Update V: Michelle Malkin has linked to this post (thanks, Michelle!), and one of her commenters generously notes

I am anticipating sanctimonious whining from Churchill, to which I graciously offer to increase his award by 25% so he can call someone who cares.

Update VI: The Daily Camera is reporting that former CU President Hank Brown says Churchill's return to CU "would be a travesty"

Update VII: Denver's 9News reports (emphasis ours)

The judge will now decide whether Churchill will return and begin teaching at CU again. His attorney, David Lane, says that is what Churchill wants. Lane says if CU opposes, there will be a hearing.

CU says it will oppose his return to the classroom, but wouldn't provide specifics.

Lane says the judge has no choice but to let Churchill teach again at CU. Lane says if Churchill is reinstated and CU doesn't give him back something equivalent to his old job, that would be grounds for another lawsuit.

Update VIII: Drunkablog has a transcript of sorts of one of the Churchill jurors (who sounded like a 19-year-old Valley girl) interviewed this afternoon on KHOW's Caplis & Silverman show

B[ethany]: All of us wanted to give him money except for one... There was only one who didn't want to give him money, so we sat there for hours....


B: None of the questions had to do with academic misconduct, which I thought were not the point... I didn't think the academic mis[conduct] charges were enough to fire him...


S[ilverman]: What did you think of his 9/11 essay?

B: I can see how people would be hurt by it, but I think he made some good points....

S: Did you believe Wart when he said he didn't support terrorism?

B (after hesitating): I did.
Update IX: Little Green Footballs links to us (Thanks, Charles!) and a commenter there says
I think [CU] presented a half-hearted defense for a simple reason -- a full-throated defense would mean going to war against most of their race/gender/literature departments.

If they pounded his lack of scholarship and dearth of evidence behind his "work", they would be holding him to a standard that many in their humanities departments cannot meet. It would fundamentally change the admin vs. faculty relationship forever. Many of them would see that they could be fired too, and would preemptively undermine the faculty from this day forward.
Update X: We have a new post up, covering The Aftermath

CNews 2April09

Race To The Bottom is reporting "the jury is about to return with the verdict."

'There is no truth.'

CU defense attorney Patrick O'Rourke is currently doing a live by-telephone interview with the Caplis & Silverman show on KHOW; he just told them that if the jury agrees that Churchill was fired improperly, but fails to agree on monetary damages, the result is a hung jury. (available via live feed here (left hand side of the top banner; Firefox users may need to install an extension in order for the feed to work properly))

'There is no truth.'

The Denver Post is reporting the two questions submitted this afternoon by the deliberating jurors to Judge Naves (ht Leah):

The jurors asked: "Judge, we are feeling uncomfortable about the damages portion. Would you be able to meet with us to talk about what is required and other things regarding money? And is $0 an option?

Naves replied: "I cannot meet with you. Please re-read the instructions concerning damages if you find for the plaintiff but find no damages (you will have to) find in the sum of $1."

The jurors then had another question: "If all but one jury member can agree on a dollar amount for Question 4, can that person be replaced by another juror?"

Naves told them that wasn't possible, (Question 4 on the jury form deals with compensating Churchill for past non-economic damages and past economic loss.)

Update: John Aguilar's near-liveblogging concurs, and adds

The way the verdict form is organized, [Churchill co-counsel Robert Bruce] said, the jury wouldn't get to the question of damages unless it had already ruled that Churchill was unlawfully terminated from his post as professor.

little goebbels

We note in passing our prescience back in August of 2006, when we posted "Robbing CU To Pay Churchill"

'There is no truth.'

Another new Race To The Bottom post expresses concern about a problematic sentence in the jury instructions that seems to mistakenly imply Churchill's employment was at-will; RTTB points out that the at-will status of Churchill's employment was amended when CU granted him tenure (which amendment raises the bar for CU in that it must present "clear and convincing evidence" rather than simply "a preponderance of evidence" that it was within its rights to fire Churchill). Could this be cause for appeal in the highly unlikely event that Churchill loses this case?

Update: In what we'd guess is only the first such claim from DBAB, a commenter to this RTTB post notes "if the the university gets off because of the parameters of the judge's instructions, he will be proving Churchill's overall shcolarly [sic] and political perspective correct." So, for those keeping score, if Churchill loses, his scholarly and political perspective is proven correct. If Churchill wins, his scholarly and political perspective is proven correct. Got it? Good. Now, get back to scheduling those transport trains.

'Blah, blah, blah.'

All the news outlets are reporting that the jury is continuing its deliberations; John Aguilar at the Daily Camera reports that Churchill appears to be copping some Z's while he awaits the verdict. Some of our contacts who've followed the case say this does not bode well for CU (as if O'Rourke's trial-long incompetence weren't an early indicator), and some even quip that the delay in a decision is because the jurors are working out how much money to give The Perfesser. Heh. Gallows humor. We get it.

Update: Aguilar is reporting the jury worked through lunch, and are currently in their ninth hour of deliberation.
Update II: Aguilar is reporting that the attorneys for both sides were called into the courtroom in response to a jury question.

'Inherently political.'

Race To The Bottom has two new posts: Who Wins And Why, in which they hedge their bets a bit about their earlier prediction of a Churchill win, and The Obama Effect, in which they hedge their hedging.

Update: The comments to the RTTB "Prognostication" post include one from Professor Thomas Brown, who notes

*All* of the fabricated facts are still unaccounted for. Churchill's defense is that when he said that Army officers passed out blankets, he really meant the local Indian agent, not the Army. When he said that Army doctors violated quarantine, he really meant a fur trader doing home remedies, not Army doctors. When he said blankets came from a military infirmary in St. Louis, he really meant that a fur trader brought them from Baltimore. And when he said Mandan Indians at Fort Clark, he didn't really mean the Mandans, he meant all of the Plains tribes to the north of Fort Clark.

In other words, Churchill no longer defends any of the fabricated elements of his published tale. The Army, the Mandans, and Fort Clark have all disappeared from his latest conspiracy theory. If he can bamboozle an intelligent law professor with such nonsense, then I think he probably bamboozled the jury too.

'There is no truth.'

Vince Carroll over at the Denver Post notes the ironic dichotomy between Churchill attorney David Lane and CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke.
Of Lane:

Lane called just about everyone a liar during his closing argument. Former Gov. Bill Owens: "He's a liar." The university regents: "lying liars." The university's claims of a fair and unbiased process involving faculty who were actually predisposed not to fire a colleague: lies, lies, lies.

Of O'Rourke:

O'Rourke was more than halfway through his closing argument on behalf of the University of Colorado when I finally heard him utter the word "lie" — and it wasn't even in reference to Professor Ward Churchill.

He never called Churchill a "liar." He never called Churchill's witnesses "liars." He came to the fight of his professional life on his best behavior, all good manners and high decorum[....]

Can you say 'comprachico'?

Not really OT: Ann Coulter thinks that Obama firing the head of GM was just a good start:

Now that we're all agreed that the government can make hiring and firing decisions based on infusions of taxpayer money, I can think of a lot more government beneficiaries who are badly in need of firing.

Just off the top of my head, how about Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and everybody at the Department of Education?

How about firing all the former Weathermen, like Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and Mark Rudd, whose university salaries are subsidized by the taxpayer?

Nearly every university in the country accepts government money. Is there any industry in America more in need of some "restructuring" than academia? What's Berkeley's "business plan" to stop turning out graduates who hate America?


When is the government going to get around to firing 99 percent of public school superintendents? They're clearly turning out an inferior product -- i.e., America's public school graduates -- as compared to some of the foreign models now available.

In New York City, spending on public schools increased by more than 300 percent between 1982 and 2001, coming in at $11,474 per pupil annually -- compared to about $5,000 for private schools.

But in 2003, a New York court ruled that graduates of New York City's public schools did not have the skills to be "capable of voting and serving on a jury." (Worse, some kids coming out of New York high schools are so stupid they don't even know how to get out of jury duty.)

'You have a trigger finger, don't you?'

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CNews 1April09

Update: John Aguilar of the Daily Camera is reporting that the jury has left for the day and will resume their deliberations at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Update: No, the jury isn't in, but Race To The Bottom is calling the trial for Churchill. (ht Leah)

Race To The Bottom has a new post up regarding the closing arguments, and includes an interesting section on Judge Naves' instructions to the jury. (ht Leah)

In order to prevail on this claim, the Plaintiff must prove each of the following facts by a preponderance of the evidence:

1) That a majority of the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado used Plaintiff’s protected speech activity as a substantial or motivating factor in the decision to discharge the Plaintiff from employment, and
2) That the Defendants’ acts were the proximate or legal cause of damages sustained by the Plaintiff.

[F]or damages to the proximate or legal result of wrongful conduct, it must be shown that, except for such conduct, the damages would not have occurred.

If you find in the Plaintiff’s favor with respect to each of the facts that the Plaintiff must prove, you must then decide whether the Defendants have shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the Plaintiff would have been dismissed for other reasons even in the absence of the protected speech activity. If you find that the Plaintiff would have been dismissed for reasons apart from the speech activity, then your verdict should be for the Defendants.

In determining such damages, you shall consider the following:
(1) Any noneconomic losses or injuries which Plaintiff Churchill has had to the present time, including physical and mental pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional distress, loss of reputation, and impairment of the quality of life; and (2) any economic losses or injuries which plaintiff has had to the present time.
BTW: The RTTB report notes "At the end of closing arguments, Judge Naves revealed who were the two alternates, as those people will not be included in the consideration. It turns out they were the man who took the most notes, and the man who asked the most questions." Good deal, huh.

'When the Pope died I made [the] front page.'

The indefatigable John Aguilar continues his close-to-liveblogging of Teh Trial this morning
Excerpt from Aguilar's coverage of David Lane's closing argument:

Calling the University of Colorado regents and former Colorado Governor Bill Owens "lying liars," Lane said despite CU's best efforts to cast this as an academic fraud case, Churchill was dismissed for writing his controversial 9/11 essay.

"Why are they doing all this?" he asked. "Because they don't like what he said in his 911 essay."

And he hammered home the point that the jury doesn't need to find that the school dismissed the former ethnic studies professor solely because of the essay, but only that the essay played a "substantial and motivating" factor in its decision-making process.

"If the 9/11 essay formed any part of their decision to fire Ward Churchill, you have to find for him," Lane said.

The Denver Post is also liveblogging Teh Trial this morning (ht Leah)
Excerpt from DP's coverage of David Lane's closing argument:

Lane told the jury that only Judge Naves can decide on whether to reinstate Churchill to his job at CU. The jury's only consideration if they find in the former professor's favor is to whether to award damages and how much money to award him.

"Churchill did not ask for a nickel. He just wants his job back," Lane said. "You don't have the power to give him his job back. In America, the dollar solves all problems. What are damages in this case, damages are justice. You know he is out $110,000 a year on salary.

"What is a man's reputation worth to have been paraded through the national media, having been a distinguished scholar and a professor for 30 years to give a voice for people like dead Arabic kids in Iraq who do not have a voice in this country it's worth a hell of a lot more than a little bit of money, but that is justice."

What? This isn't about Churchill getting his (sniff) job back? It's just about the money? We feel like we can never trust Lane again.

Incidentally, what were those Arab kids doing in Iraq? Was they on some sort of field trip?

Update: So far, only 9News in Denver has anything on CU defense attorney Patrick O'Rourke's closing statement

"What we heard here during the course of this trial is there are two worlds - the world the University exists in and the world Ward Churchill lives in," attorney Patrick O'Rourke said. "Ward Churchill's world was a place where there are no standards and no accountability."

Update II: The DP at last provides coverage of O'Rourke's closing statement

O'Rourke began his closing argument attacking Ward Churchill's academic record and comparing his sense of reality to Lewis Carroll's book "Through the Looking Glass" where a "young girl left this world and went into another one."

"There are two worlds, — there is the real university world and there is Ward Churchill's world," O'Rourke said. "Ward Churchill's world is a place where connecting the dots is the same as inventing the dots."

"What we have seen at the end of the day is Ward Churchill's world is a place where there are no standards and no accountability," O'Rourke continued. "I want you to think back to cross- examination of Ward Churchill I wanted you to hear what Professor Churchill had to say and what we saw is that professor Churchill can justify everything and explain nothing. It has been the same story for years, before the investigative committee, before the privilege and tenure committee and before you as jurors."

O'Rourke reminded jurors that Churchill had claimed to write an essay from "the ground up" that another professor - Rebecca Robbins - signed her name to.

"If you want to look at just how preposterous the story is when he was asked about the Rebecca Robbins essay," O'Rourke said. "It's like one of you went to work and punched a time clock for one of your employees who isn't there."

"The University of Colorado must diligently prevent misconduct," O'Rourke said. "That applies to every student and every faculty member to everybody who does anything in the university's name.

"You cannot plagiarize, you cannot falsify, you cannot fabricate.

"Ladies and gentleman, things like writing work under someone else's name and then signing them are just wrong in an academic community. As every faculty member who came up here told you, these type of activities strike at the heart of what a university does."

O'Rourke continued to attack the notion that Churchill's claim that "ghost writing" essays for other people is not bad scholarship.

"Not one person, you heard 45 witnesses in this trial, not one person came into this courtroom and said they did the same things that Professor Churchill says he did," O'Rourke said. "None of them can come in here and provided a single example of whether themselves or anyone else who does what Professor Churchill says is the common practice."

O'Rourke also attacked Churchill's scholarly writings about how the Mandan Indians were infected by smallpox blankets taken from an infirmary in St. Louis and handed out by the U.S. Army.

"So the story keeps changing, but he still cannot provide any sources," O'Rourke said. "He says, 'I was wrong, there is no such thing as a smallpox infirmary in St. Louis' then he comes in the courtroom and says, 'I have had two years to look at this' and says 'maybe it was Maryland.' The story keeps changing, ladies and gentlemen, and it's always wrong."

"You have to have support for your facts," O'Rourke said. "You have to be able to tell people where you got this from and you can't tell them five or six different things when your stories don't check out."

While Lane spent a majority of his closing arguments focusing on the unfairness of disciplining Churchill for his Sept. 11 essay, O'Rourke spent a short time during his argument discussing its impact on the university and the decision to fire Churchill.

"He said he did not support terrorism, that he did not cheerlead 9-11, but look at this," O'Rourke said. "He said America was getting a taste of its own medicine. What you have heard is an effort to sanitize hatred and mask it with different language in the courtroom. Eichmann sent people to die and it was not by ignorance. It is undisputed in this case that he was hurting his public employer. The university was being threatened in how it runs its operations and the support it was getting in the state of Colorado and they are trying to say this was not a legitimate inquiry. It was a legitimate question - is this within the boundaries of a public employee's rights?"

O'Rourke tried to erase Lane's witch-hunt argument and told jurors that CU gave Churchill adequate due process especially by the Privilege and Tenure committee, which was made up of fellow faculty.

"This committee was picked by the faculty and these faculty members are picked because they are respected by their peers," O'Rourke said. "They are full professors with a history of distinguished service to the university. They were asked if his conduct met the minimum standards of professional integrity, and in eight different instances they said it does not."

Lane had argued that Churchill was severely punished because he was not groveling and apologetic to CU during the investigative process.

O'Rourke said it was not about groveling

"But Professor Churchill did not recognize - ever to this day - that there are standards of scholarship and that he needs to meet them."

"Professor Churchill is trying to use the First Amendment to excuse his fraud, and I agree with Mr. Lane, you are here to preserve and protect the Constitution and the best way to do that is to say you cannot take the First Amendment and use it to justify fraud."

"Mr. Lane says if he did the things we say he did, then throw him out of court," O'Rourke told the jury. "He did the things that the privilege and tenure committee found by clear and convincing evidence, so accept Mr. Lane's offer and throw him out of court."

'Blah, blah, blah.'

Race To The Bottom posted (late last night) an expanded and detailed report on Making The Record, which RTTB describes as "the process of attorneys giving statements for the court reporter to capture for the record that are not evidence, are out of hearing of the jury, but nonetheless need to be preserved for future reference. Future reference is code for appellate review, which is bound to happen in this case."
Also covered in depth is Judge Nave's decision to toss out Churchill's first claim:

The first claim for relief in the Complaint is for “42 U.S.C. § 1983 – First Amendment Retaliation in Launching the Investigation.” This was a fairly novel complaint. The parties have evidently been discussing off the record throughout the trial whether it is a valid and sustainable claim, with both sides submitting briefs, case law, etc. to assist Judge Naves’ final decision. The issue is whether "investigation" with its chilling effect is an “adverse employment action” under First Amendment protection. Judge Naves, referring from and reading from two cases, held that it is not, therefore the claim is dismissed.

Churchill’s attorneys (they took turns) argued that defendants were asking to create a bright-line rule that investigations are not actionable under the First Amendment but some Tenth Circuit decisions have said that the matter is to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Judge Naves preferred to reference the cases he said were “directly on point.”

In Spagnuolo v. City of Longmont, 2006 WL 2594484 (D.Colo.) (for which David Lane was Plaintiff’s attorney), the U.S. District Court held that investigation is not actionable retaliation. “Although Tenth Circuit does not require termination or its equivalent to find an adverse employment action for purposes of a First Amendment retaliation claim, it has not, to my knowledge, found that an investigation by a public employer is an actionable retaliation for exercise of First Amendment rights.” Spagnuolo is directly connected to the Churchill case. Spagnuolo, a Longmont employee, called into a talk radio show to participate in “all Churchill, all the time.” His comments related to police officers acting as oppressors, and that violence may be an appropriate tool of self-defense against the government. About a month later Spagnuolo was told by Longmont officials that they were searching his office computer and investigating whether he was on the job or using a City cell phone when he called. The investigation only resulted in a Performance Development Plan, and Spagnuolo unsuccessfully sued the City for First Amendment violation.

Further, as PB reader Ace points out, Churchill's burden of proof is now quite high on the remaining claim. From RTTB's "Making The Record" (emphasis ours):
[...] O’Rourke requested that the instructions require the jury to find that a majority of the Regents acted with retaliatory motivation or were motivated by unlawful considerations. Lane objected to this as it means his burden of proof is higher, but Judge Naves held that if it takes a majority of the Board of Regents to act to terminate, then it should take a majority to prove wrongful retaliatory motivation. The jury will therefore have to find that “A majority of the members of the Board of Regents viewed Professor Churchill’s protected speech activity as a substantial motivating factor in the decision to discharge the plaintiff from employment.“ We will not know what the final and complete jury instructions are until tomorrow morning.

These decisions do not bode well for the Plaintiff. The burden of proof is now quite high. To find for the Plaintiff, the jury must decide that a preponderance of the evidence, i.e. over 50%, shows that a majority of the Board of Regents were motivated to fire Churchill primarily for things he said that were protected under his First Amendment right of free speech, rather than because he committed academic misconduct.

'I was hired for what I do.'

From our You Never Get Rid Of The Dane department: According to this site, Ward Churchill will be lout-shouting at Concordia University in Montreal on Wednesday, 15 April 15, at 7:00pm. (via DrunkaHomeRemedy (update II))

'Inherently political.'

A press release dated today claims that American Indian Mafia authors Joseph H. and John Trimbach are alleging additional research fraud on the part of The Perfesser

In their [public] presentations of March 24th and 25th, the Trimbachs displayed photographs to show that Churchill employs deception and dishonesty when writing about AIM leaders of the 1970s. One passage analyzed by the Trimbachs was from Churchill’s book, The Cointelpro Papers. The photograph in question shows a young militant from the 1973 AIM-led occupation of Wounded Knee village. Trimbach pointed out five separate falsehoods in the caption which describes the death of Frank Clearwater, one of two occupier casualties during the 10-week standoff. Along with four false allegations against the FBI, the most obvious mistake was that the young militant pictured was not Frank Clearwater.

That the press release is April 1 strikes us as a tad suspicious, and in any case, why announce this today? Even if the release is, in fact, from the Trimbachs, the action seems more useful to the sales of American Indian Mafia than to any lofty pursuit of academic integrity.

'There is no truth.'

From our Somewhere in America Is The Dumbest Attorney In The Country And Someone Has An Appointment With Her Ten O'Clock Tomorrow Morning department:
A commenter over at Race To The Bottom says

I have read Ward's article, "Some People Push Back," several times and am unable to locate anywhere therein where he refers to the 3000+ people who died in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 as "Eichmanns." I believe this assertion, which I have found that many people who have never read this essay accept without question, is typical of the lack of intellect and/or critical thinking (or perhaps just plain old lack of intelligence) that U.S.ers are increasingly known for in other parts of the world. Why is there no public discussion concerning the factual statements in this essay, e.g. the number of Iraqi children killed by U.S.ers?

Deborah Kelly, J.D.
To which we replied
"If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it."—Ward Churchill, "Some People Push Back"
...and in case any of our readers suspect us of chutchillian fabulism, here's a link to the essay to facilitate personal verification.

Can you say 'comprachico'?

OT: Disappearing webpages (or rendering them useless) is becoming a habit among the Left, it seems. Over at CU's Ethnic Studies department, check out the list of faculty and staff.

Professor Ward Churchill — The Imam of Indigenism


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Recent Comments

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