University of Colorado Will Make Ward Churchill a Rich Man · 10 March 2005


By David Kopel--The Volokh Conspiracy--03/10/05

According to KHOW-AM talk radio host Peter Boyles, a very reliable media source has informed him that Ward Churchill's attorney, David Lane, has stated that CU will offer Ward Churchill a buy-out so generous that Churchill will never have to work another day in his life. Numerous other media sources in Colorado, including the daily newspapers, have confirmed that CU is negotiating a buy-out with Churchill. If these reports are accurate, CU President Betsy Hoffman's decision earlier this week to resign was well-timed, because the Churchill buy-out, which may be announced on Monday, would have ignited a firestorm of demands for her resignation.

The Churchill buy-out may be remembered at the single most self-destructive decision ever made by CU administrators. It will be a disaster for the University's fund-raising, and will significantly weaken the University's support in the state legislature. The state legislature is currently working to create a November 2005 ballot referendum to raise Colorado taxes by billions of dollars, primarily to support to higher education. It will be very difficult to convince voters that an institution which has enough money to give Ward Churchill millions of dollars desparately needs to take more money out of the pockets of families trying to balance their own budgets every month.

The tragedy of the buy-out is that, if CU administrators had the nerve, there is an overwhelmingly strong case for firing Churchill based on academic fraud, as I detailed in a previous post.

Churchill's responses to the academic fraud evidence have been entirely unconvincing. On of his tactics is to cite various far-left professors, such as Noam Chomsky, who praise his work. That Churchill is admired, in general, by some extremist professors is hardly a refutation of the specific evidence of Churchill's fraud which has been brought forward by Professors LaVelle and Brown.

Second, Churchill attempts to obfuscate the topic by pointing to irrelevant historical data. For example, as LaVelle has detailed, Churchill lied over and over by claiming that the 19th-century federal General Allotment Act gave property rights only to Indians who could prove a certain quantum of Indian blood. Churchill does not directly attempt to defend this false statement, because it would be impossible; anyone can read the Act, and see that the Act said nothing about blood quantum, but rather left the decision about who would receive Reservation land to the Indian tribes in charge of the various Reservations. So instead, Churchill points to various 20th-century federal Indian laws which did involve a blood quantum.

It seems extremely doubtful that any jury or judge would buy Churchill's implausible defense. If you falsely write "Queen Victoria flew to the moon in a spaceship in 1887", you can't defend the falsehood by pointing out that somebody else did fly to the moon in the subsequent century.

The ultimate responsibility for CU's problems is borne by the elected Board of Regents. Preliminary indications suggest that the Regents, in their search for a new CU President, will not hire a reformer--such as former U.S. Senator Hank Brown, who did an excellent job promoting reform when he served as President of the University of Northern Colorado. Instead, the Regents will look for another apparatchik who will attempt to defend the miserable, ultra-p.c., anti-intellectual-diversity status quo in CU's humanities departments.