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Sheriff Gonna Getcha 05-30-2007 02:07 AM

Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
So, for those of you who are not familiar with CU professor Ward Churchill, he likened the victims of the 9/11 attacks to a high-ranking member of the Nazi Party. Essentially, Prof. Churchill argued that those in the Twin Towers and Pentagon were "enablers" who are responsible for U.S. foreign and economic policy. It [URL="http://www.colorado.edu/news/reports/churchill/distefano062606.html"]looks[/URL] like he may be fired. My question is, should he be?

Personally, I think the guy should be fired for demonstrating a lack of intellect and sense of proportionality. Moreover, I wonder if he would think it would be permissible for the U.S. to target civilians protesting in favor of groups like Hamas or Al Qaeda because they are "enabling" terrorism?

PLEASE discuss this in an intelligent manner and refrain from personal attacks. I think people can discuss this issue in an intelligent manner and there are good arguments for both sides (e.g., he made idiotic statements and they show his lack of intellect v. academic freedom is important). If you believe the issue is too sensitive to debate with civility, please refrain from posting at all.

70Chip 05-30-2007 03:00 AM

Re: Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
I think that academic freedom is very important. I don't like the idea of professors getting fired over specific statements or claims that they make. Freedom of speech requires us to tolerate speech we find disagreeable or offensive. If it only applied to views we consider laudable then it wouldn't have been necessary to include it in the bill of rights.

Having said that, I do think that there are too many academic posers that have attached themselves to the higher education system in a parasitic way and who substitute various victimization theories for objective intellectual discourse. I suspect Ward is one of these. These are also the ones who are the least likely to suffer dissent from their own students and give grades based on how well their pupils have adapted this ideology as their own.

The case of the bloggers who were fired by John Edwards (or they resigned) over crude statements about the Virgin Mary is instructive here. I thought it odd at the time that so few of the usual suspects had come to her defense so I went to her personal blog [URL="http://pandagon.net/"]Pandagon[/URL] and was amazed. This women graduated from some college, possibly UT-Austin, with an English degree but writes like a remedial sixth grader. She did seem to pick up quite a lot of left-sounding jargon, though (reactionary, patriarchal, etc.). At least she's not designing bridges.

Ward will be okay, though. I hear he is a top contender to play John Redcorn in a broadway play based on the animated series "King of the Hill".

Looking through Pandagon's latest enries I found this gem:
"Okay, now that the boring stuff is out of the way, now for the fun stuff."

Perhaps she was riffing on Austin Powers', "Allow myself to introduce myself" but it is unlikely since that film treats women as objects.

GTripp0012 05-30-2007 07:18 AM

Re: Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
I don't think anyone should ever lose their job for comments that don't present a clear or present danger that consitutes at least some reasonable sort of assault. IMHO, actions speak far louder than words.

It may just be the way I was raised, but for the life of me I can't understand how so many instances of radical but non threatening comments reach the national level of media. It's just a non-issue.

Yeah, professor Ward Churchill is probably some crazy conspiracy theorist, but then again, maybe hes just taking a perspective on things that we as Americans rarely take. Who knows? The point is, he hasn't done crap to endanger anyone around him, nor has he done anything illegal (or done anything at all for that matter), so I'm not sure why his job would be in jeporady.

For the record, I'm very happy Roger Goddell is cleaning up the league. But wouldn't you all be confused if he lumped Clinton Portis in with the Tank Johnson, PacMan Jones, Chris Henry group for something he (didn't) said, when his actions were a non issue?

hooskins 05-30-2007 07:19 AM

Re: Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
I agree with the last two posts, but I still feel he will be fired due to the nature of the issue and the negative publicity CU is receiving.

djnemo65 05-30-2007 07:20 AM

Re: Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
Academic tenure exists for precisely this reason, to ensure academics the freedom to take any position, no matter how unpopular. Not many people agree with what Churchill has said but to fire him over these words sets a dangerous precedent that would register a chilling effect on academic discourse in general.

GTripp0012 05-30-2007 07:22 AM

Re: Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
[quote=hooskins;314084]I agree with the last two posts, but I still feel he will be fired due to the nature of the issue and the negative publicity CU is receiving.[/quote]True.

Media=out of f***ing control

saden1 05-30-2007 10:02 AM

Re: Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
Clearly the guy is pretty stupid and should be fired. I think the school is in the [URL="http://www.denverpost.com/ci_3982474"]process of firing him[/URL].

firstdown 05-30-2007 11:44 AM

Re: Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
[quote=GTripp0012;314083]I don't think anyone should ever lose their job for comments that don't present a clear or present danger that consitutes at least some reasonable sort of assault. IMHO, actions speak far louder than words.

It may just be the way I was raised, but for the life of me I can't understand how so many instances of radical but non threatening comments reach the national level of media. It's just a non-issue.

Yeah, professor Ward Churchill is probably some crazy conspiracy theorist, but then again, maybe hes just taking a perspective on things that we as Americans rarely take. Who knows? The point is, he hasn't done crap to endanger anyone around him, nor has he done anything illegal (or done anything at all for that matter), so I'm not sure why his job would be in jeporady.

For the record, I'm very happy Roger Goddell is cleaning up the league. But wouldn't you all be confused if he lumped Clinton Portis in with the Tank Johnson, PacMan Jones, Chris Henry group for something he (didn't) said, when his actions were a non issue?[/quote]Freedom of speach does not apply to the work place and the employer has the right to fire someone for what they have said while at work. Now if he was off campus and said this then I would agree that he should not be fired but that is not the case. The reason this reaches the national media is that there are people who are going after these institutions for allowing these radical left wingers from teaching this stuff to our children. Teaching is giving both sides to an issue then letting the students make an informed decision not just a one sided slanted view which the professor may hold. Now if at some point a professor may want to add something by saying "I believe" while on a subject then that should be ok but I still think that the employer still holds the right to fire someone for what they say while representing the school. I do have relative who is pretty consevative and he says it is so bad where he teaches that he would not dare to let the fact be known that he is a consevative. I asked him about standing up for his believe but he said at his age and a few years until he retires he not starting that battle.

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 05-30-2007 01:13 PM

Re: Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment. I also place a high premium on academic freedom.

I would be against firing a guy who makes widgets and spews dumb speech about 9/11 conspiracy theories since his ideas have nothing to do with his work product. However, academics are judged by what they say and write. Academics do not make widgets, they produce words that should be based in sound reasoning, research, etc. So, if a professor teaches things or writes things for students and other academics that are simply stupid, their "work product" sucks. So, I would say that firing a guy for demonstrating his stupidity is not necessarily viewpoint-based and an attempt at censorship. Rather, it amounts to firing someone for their inability to produce quality work.

What are the limits of academic freedom? Do they encompass racist statements? I think there are limits and academic freedom does not protect dumb, thoughtless statements. It's a close call and there is a slippery slope, but this guy should go.

firstdown 05-30-2007 01:21 PM

Re: Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
[quote=Sheriff Gonna Getcha;314172]I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment. I also place a high premium on academic freedom.

I would be against firing a guy who makes widgets and spews dumb speech about 9/11 conspiracy theories since his ideas have nothing to do with his work product. However, academics are judged by what they say and write. Academics do not make widgets, they produce words that should be based in sound reasoning, research, etc. So, if a professor teaches things or writes things for students and other academics that are simply stupid, their "work product" sucks. So, I would say that firing a guy for demonstrating his stupidity is not necessarily viewpoint-based and an attempt at censorship. Rather, it amounts to firing someone for their inability to produce quality work.

What are the limits of academic freedom? Do they encompass racist statements? I think there are limits and academic freedom does not protect dumb, thoughtless statements. It's a close call and there is a slippery slope, but this guy should go.[/quote]
So if you had a business like a fast food resturant and this guy worked very hard but was saying this stuff to your customers or other employees he should be protected by free speech. I own my business and as long as they are on the job I have the right to regulate what they say when they are off the clock that is their business and they can say as they please.

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 05-30-2007 01:34 PM

Re: Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
[QUOTE=firstdown;314175]So if you had a business like a fast food resturant and this guy worked very hard but was saying this stuff to your customers or other employees he should be protected by free speech. I own my business and as long as they are on the job I have the right to regulate what they say when they are off the clock that is their business and they can say as they please.[/QUOTE]

I don't think employees should be fired for personal opinions, as long as those personal opinions do not hurt the business' bottom line. So, in the fast food example, if the guy is running his mouth to customers, it's probably hurting the bottom line. If the guy can't shut up and is distracting co-workers, it is hurting the bottom line.

ArtMonkDrillz 05-30-2007 01:42 PM

Re: Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
Also, isn't he considered an employee of the state? CU is a public school, so they can't really dictate what their professors can and can't say.
They can, however, fire him for other reasons. This is from the article that Saden linked:
[QUOTE]Churchill, who was found to have plagiarized, falsified and fabricated in his research, was relieved of his duties... [/QUOTE]

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 05-30-2007 01:44 PM

Re: Should Ward Churchill be Fired?
 
Good point AMD, I read that too.


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