The Ward Churchill Verdict · 18 May 2006

By David Horowitz--Blog Post--05/18/06

A panel of five professors has concluded that the former chairman of Colorado University's Ethnic Studies Department and current full professor in that department, Ward Churchill, "plagiarized, fabricated and falsified material and was disrespectful of American Indian tradictions" in the words of the Denver Post.

Here is the Report's summary in its own words:

"The Committee's investigation of the seven allegations before us has unanimously found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Professor Churchill committed several forms of academic misconduct as defined in the policy statements of the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Colorado system:

1. Falsification, as discussed in Allegations A, B, C, and D.

2. Fabrication, as discussed in Allegations C and D.

3. Plagiarism, as discussed in Allegations E and G.

4. Failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications, as discussed most fully in Allegation F but also in Allegations A, B, and D.

5. Serious deviation from accepted practices in reporting results from research, as discussed in Allegation D."

Among the report's observations is this:

"Although many of his writings, including nearly all those discussed in this report, address historical and/or legal issues, he does not have formal training at the graduate level in those fields. Professors writing on the topics he addresses would typically have a Ph.D. in history or a law degree; Professor Churchill's graduate degree is an M.A. in Communications Theory."

This is obviously something that did not take a report to divulge. It was known by the entire Ethnic Studies department which hired him, voted him tenure, voted him a full professorship and then voted him its chairman.

As one professor commented on

"The wider implications of the Ward Churchill verdict are stunning. Given the egregious findings here by a distinguished panel of professors, the question is not merely Ward Churchill's writings alone. The question is: how was it that this charlatan was promoted three times, first to tenure and associate professor, then to full professor-and finally to CHAIR of the Department of Ethnic Studies at Colorado?

"The first two promotions could ONLY have happened via the receipt of approval letters from prominent people in the Ethnic Studies field. This process must have been carried out twice, first for tenure then for full professor, and must have involved at least six and probably as many as ten prominent professors of Ethnic Studies. Yet they noticed no problems. What does that say about them as scholars? What does it say about Ethnic Studies as a valid intellectual field? In fact, the Report appears to indicate (p. 5) that Ethnic Studies is not held to the same scholarly standards as other, more traditional fields of intellectual endeavor in the humanities and social sciences. I cannot figure out whether the Report also means to imply that Ethnic Studies SHOULD not be held to those same standards. I hope that is not what the authors of the Report mean.

"Furthermore,-but this would be the most difficult thing to do-those administrators at Colorado who approved Ward Churchill's tenure and associate professorship, who then approved Ward Churchill's promotion to full professor, and who then and finally approved Ward Churchill's elevation to Departmental Chair all deserved to be disciplined. THEY are as culpable as the politically corrupt or incompetent scholars who approved Churchill's career all along the line via the writing of positive external-review letters at the time of his promotions. But these adminisrtators will be the most protected by the system. I know someone who, when interviewing for a job at Colorado in 1997, was told that Churchill was a fraud, and that everyone knew it. The university, according to the Report, was in receipt of major complaints against Churchill as early as 1996.

"So-who DIDN'T know Churchill was a fraud? Yet he was promotied to full professor AFTER 1997, and then eventually to Chair of his Department. One needs to investigate why. Were they physically afraid of him? Were they afraid of the criticism they would receive from his supporters if they objected? Were they so supportive (or afraid) of his politics that this trumped any doubts about his worth as a scholar?"

This is precisely what The Professors was about, and the verdict on Churchill vindicates its argument and claims.