Indian Hunt in Indiana · 09 August 2005
By FrontPage Magazine -- 08/10/05
William Bradford is a Chiricahua Apache Indian who served 10 years in the army (1990-2001), taught at the National War College and was on the staff of Chief of Joint Chief of Staff Shalikashvili. He has a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and a law degree summa cum laude from the University of Miami. His legal philosophy takes a patriotic bent, most noticeably in his recent article for the Notre Dame Law Review, "The Duty to Defend Them: A Natural Legal Justification of the Bush Doctrine of Preventative War." He recently conducted the training for the JAG attorneys of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) on the Laws of Armed Conflict. Yet he has also defended a Saudi student in Idaho whom he thought falsely accused of using a website to support terrorism. His specialties are national security and foreign-relations law, international law, law of armed conflict, and federal Indian law.
Bradford was hired as an Assistant Professor of Law (no tenure) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Law in autumn semester 2002. He was promoted by unanimous vote to associate professor of law without tenure in autumn semester 2004. He has an outstanding record of publication, with already enough legal-scholarly publications--a book and more than 20 articles in law reviews or chapters in books--to be a tenured full professor at IUPUI.
In March 2005 he formally applied for tenure. The application was denied by the Vice Chancellor of the university on the grounds that the normal period of pre-tenure probation is six years, not three. (Technically this is true. But there is no university rule preventing such early promotions and in the case of extraordinary resumes, they are in order.) There was then a "straw poll" vote in the Law Faculty regarding Bradford's possible future tenure: the vote was 10-5 in favor, which in academic terms is not a strong vote, astounding in the case of a candidate with such strong credentials. There was also a vote taken on whether to rehire him merely in untenured status for three more years: this also passed, but again only by a 10-5 vote.
Bradford is convinced that his patriotic political stance on the War on Terror and his refusal to sign a petition in behalf of Ward Churchill which was sponsored by his chief antagonist on the law faculty (and its leading leftwing activist), Professor Florence Roisman, is the proximate cause of this grotesque situation. When Bradford refused to sign her petition for Churchill, Roisman said "What kind of a native American are you?"
There is no other plausible explanation why someone with the scholarly publications to be a full professor, and indeed with a quantity and quality of scholarly publications that compare favorably with those already holding prestigious endowed Chairs in Law at Indiana, did not receive a unanimous or near unanimous vote which is normally the case.
Professor Roisman, who holds an endowed Chair, has led a campaign to vilify Professor Bradford. She has called him a "liar," and referred to him as "Clarence Tomahawk" (a charge she denies); she has refused to provide any reasons for her opposition to his tenure request, and to merely rehiring him untenured for the next three years, while denying that her opposition is political. It appears that at least three members of the Law School's Progressive Faculty and Staff Coalition voted to deny tenure and a renewed appointment to Bradford.
The five votes against even allowing Bradford to continue for three years as an untenured professor is really astounding, given that he has out-published many full professors in the department, including several with endowed Chairs. He also has stellar service and teaching performance records. It is cruelly ironic that Bradford, an authentic American Indian and a real American patriot, is being punished for having refused to support Ward Churchill, the infamous Indian impostor, academic fraud and American traitor from the University of Colorado.
This case came to our attention at FrontPage after our sister site, www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org published an article about the case that was written by Ruth Holladay and that appeared in the Indianapolis Star. We then received a letter from Professor Roisman, demanding that we retract the claims made in the Indianapolis Star article. We refused. She replied and we answered her reply. The correspondence follows, at the end of which there is an analysis of the entire caes by an academic expert who is a full professor at a major state university and who voted for John Kerry.
From Sara Dogan (National Campus Director, Students for Academic Freedom):
A professor Roisman from Indiana U. sent me an email wanting me to post her rebuttal to the Indianapolis Star story which we posted about a conservative professor there who was denied tenure for not being collegial. Here's the original story and her rebuttal is printed below.
From: Roisman, Florence W
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 10:23 AM
To: Bradford, William C
Cc: IN-LAW-Everyone; Bantz, Charles R; Plater, William M; Schneider, Richard C.
Subject: Immediate, unconditional, and public retraction demanded
1. You stated on Channel 8 that "Florence Roisman's trying to allege that because I have viewpoints that are different from hers in terms of the war on terror - she thinks it's an aggressive war; I think it's a just war, to liberate the people there and help enhance our security. Because of that difference of opinion, I am a bad person. I am an uncollegial person. I need to be politically cleansed…"
This is a flat-out lie. I never have said or suggested anything of the sort. My conviction that you are not deserving of or likely to earn tenure here is not based on any political views you may hold, and I have made that clear in every statement I have made on the subject. I made that clear in the discussions in the Promotion and Tenure Committee. You can have absolutely no basis for this defamatory statement. I insist upon an immediate, unconditional, and public retraction.
2. Indylaw.net carries a comment made by you "at the Volokh Conspiracy weblog." The statement is that "The real reason for the votes of five tenured colleagues not to renew my contract, as best I can tell and based on what little has percolated down to me, was that I defend the war on terror (for reasons of self-determination principally) and won't sign letters in support of Ward Churchill's assertion that the victims of the 9/11 terrorists are the moral equivalents of the architect of the Jewish Shoah." See http://iuilaw.blogspot.com for Monday, June 27, 2005
The context makes clear that you are making this statement about me, among others. If anyone has "percolated" to you any basis for such a statement about me, I insist that you immediately disclose what was said to you and who said it. It is a flat-out lie, and defamatory to state that either of these things was any part of anything I have said or done about you. (As you well know, there never was a vote "not to renew [your] contract.")
3. In that same statement you write that you have "actually heard the expression 'Clarence Tomahawk' used around the faculty suites." Again, the context suggests that I have used that expression. That would be a flat-out lie; I never had even heard that expression before I read your posting on the blog, and I never would use such an expression. I insist that you immediately and publicly state by whom you "actually heard" that expression used and that you immediately, unconditionally, and publicly withdraw the deceitful and defamatory suggestion that you heard me use such an expression.
4. In a posting on Indylaw.net on June 27, 2005 at 5:24 p.m., you wrote that "I'm being squeezed out by people who can't abide by [sic] the kind of Indian I am, which is free-thinking and not colonized either in body or mind."
Again, the context makes clear that you are referring to me. Again, it is a flat-out lie and defamatory to suggest that my opinion about whether or not you should be tenured here has anything whatever to do with your status as an Indian or what "kind of Indian" you may be. It also is a flat-out lie and defamatory to state or suggest that I did or would oppose anyone because she or he is "free-thinking and not colonized either in body or mind." I insist upon an immediate, unconditional, public retraction.
5. Ruth Holladay's column in the Indianapolis Star for June 26, 2005, at page B1, reports that you said that you are "under attack" (in her words) because your views on the war on terror are different from the views held by me and Professor Mitchell. It is a lie and defamatory to state that my views on your suitability for tenure have any relationship to your views on the war on terror. (It also is a lie and defamatory to make such a statement about Professor Mitchell, but I leave her to speak for herself.) I insist that you disclose whether you made such a statement to Ms. Holladay, and if you did, I insist upon an immediate, unconditional, public retraction.
In addition to these specific statements, you have insinuated in these and other fora that my conviction that you are undeserving of and unlikely to earn tenure here is based upon your views of the war in Iraq, your views of the so-called "war on terror," your status as a Native American, your declining to sign a letter supporting the academic freedom of Professor Ward Churchill, or your status as a veteran. My long record of anti-racism and support for diversity, freedom of speech, and academic freedom thoroughly refute the first four of your untrue and offensive statements and suggestions The notion that I would be prejudiced against someone because she or he is a veteran is equally absurd and is refuted by, among other things, my recent article, National Ingratitude: The egregious Deficiencies of the United States' Housing Programs for Veterans and the 'Public Scandal' of Veterans' Homelessness, 38 Ind. L. Rev. 103 (2005). To be perfectly clear, so that neither you nor anyone else can have any doubt about what I am saying, my conviction that you are not deserving of or likely to earn tenure here is not based, to any extent, on your political views, your declining to sign a letter supporting the academic freedom of Professor Churchill, or your status as a Native American or a veteran, and there is not, and therefore you cannot possibly have, any basis for your deceitful and defamatory statements and suggestions to the contrary, for each of which, as I have indicated above, I insist upon an immediate, unconditional, and public retraction.
Florence Wagman Roisman
Michael D. McCormick Professor of Law
Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis
530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202-3225
PHONE: 317 274 4479
FAX: 317 278 3326
From: David Horowitz
Sent: Thursday, August 04, 2005 6:34 PM
To: Roisman, Florence W
Subject: Your request that we publish your response to the Indianapolis Star and Professor Bradford
Florence W. Roisman
Michael D. McCormick Professor of Law
Indiana University, Indianapolis
Dear Professor Roisman,
I have received your request that we publish your letter to the Indianpolis Star concerning Professor Bradford on our website. It is a request that I must respectfully decline. I have read your statement which is a series of assertions without evidence to support them. For a Professor of Law you have a very insecure grasp of what constitutes defamation. (As a writer and publisher, I myself cannot afford such sloppiness). Typical of people who make frivolous libel threats, you also lack a firm appreciation of the First Amendment and the diversity of viewpoints it supports.
On the other hand, if you would care to write another letter in which you document your behavior in other tenure decisions to show that you have supported candidates with conservative viewpoints, or if you would like to make a serious defense of your judgment in respect to Professor Bradford's qualifications, I would be happy to publish it -- and would of course provide Professor Bradford with an opportunity to respond.
Roisman to Horowitz:
From: Roisman, Florence W
To: David Horowitz
Sent: Friday, August 05, 2005 10:06 AM
Subject: RE: Your request that we publish your response to the Indianapolis Star and Professor Bradford
Dear Mr. Horowitz:
I omit Professor Bradford from the "cc" list only because he has asked that I not communicate with him. I hope that you will send a copy of this message to him.
In an email of June 30, 2005, I informed Professor Bradford of reasons for my reservations about him. He also was informed about Promotion and Tenure Committee members' concerns in a meeting with then-Dean Tarr and others in academic year 2003-04. In addition, while I was not present when the persons who chaired the Committee met with Professor Bradford in academic years 2003-04 and 2004-05, I believe that those persons gave him further explanations of Committee members' concerns. Professor Bradford is of course free to discuss those with you. It is not true that, as he states in his August 4 email to you, he has "been offered nothing other than a lack of collegiality . . . " to explain the concerns expressed by members of the Committee. My reservations about him have nothing to do with his political views or his status as a Native American or a veteran.
Many of the statements made in, and the general point of, the Ruth Holladay column are false. Among other things, no application for tenure for Professor Bradford ever has been presented to the Promotion and Tenure Committee; in the normal course, one is not eligible for tenure until one has served for six years, and Professor Bradford has served for only three. This point, and others, were made in a letter from Vice Chancellor William Plater, which letter was published in the Indianapolis Star on July 3. I should think that, having posted the Holladay column, you would wish to post something that corrects at least some of the false statements in the column. You might post Vice Chancellor Plater's letter to do that.
Professor Bradford has made a number of false statements (including, in his August 4 email to you, that he has "been threatened (and worse) by Prof. Florence Roisman"). If, as your email to me states, you "cannot afford . . . sloppiness . . . ," you will be well advised to insist upon documentation of anything that Professor Bradford says to you.
Yours very truly,
Florence Wagman Roisman
Florence Wagman Roisman
Michael McCormick Professor of Law
Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis
530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202-3225
PHONE: 317 274 4479
FAX: 317 278 3326
From: David Horowitz
Sent: Monday, August 08, 2005 2:49 PM
Subject: Re your response to my letter concerning the Bradford case
August 8, 2005
McCormick Professor of Law
Dear Professor Roisman,
I note you have dropped the legal threats of your first letter, which were an ill-considered attempt to suppress views with which you disagree. You have voluntarily entered the public arena in the Bradford case, so you should not respond to criticism with such threats. Those threats were an abuse of process and indicated an intolerant attitude for the opinions of others, both of which are matters at the heart of this case.
Despite my request, you have failed to provide an instance in which you supported tenure for a candidate who disagreed with your ideological prejudices. You also have failed to provide a reason for your rejection of a candidate whose credentials appear on their merits to be stellar.
Your insinuated reason for not providing any explanation for this rejection is concern for Professor Bradford's privacy. This rationale is as abusive as the legal threats in your previous letter. You have publicly called Professor Bradford a liar and pronounced him unfit for tenure, yet you pretend to respect his privacy by refusing to make public your reasons for the rejection, knowing that only such public disclosure can provide him with an opportunity to defend himself. This behavior is reprehensible.
As to the case itself, I have sought an outside opinion on this matter from a tenured full professor at a large state university comparable to Indiana U. I have asked him to analyze all public aspects of the case, since I do not have any first-hand familiarity with academic procedures myself. He has done so and his report immediately follows my letter. I have respected his wishes to remain anonymous for the present. The trivial inaccuracies in the Holladay column, which you refer to, are corrected in his analysis whose conclusions are, to say the least, disturbing. I intend to publish this letter along with the entire correspondence when it is complete.
Expert Analysis of the Case
August 8, 2005
Thank you for showing me the letters of Professor Roisman, and Professor Bradford's response. I have also done some research on my own, including looking at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis) law student web-sites, and I have read Vice Chancellor Plater's letter to the Indianapolis Star.
I am a full professor of History (since 1994), with 25 years experience at the flagship campus of a major state university. I have served on numerous promotion sub-committees at my institution (cases both of promotion to associate professor with tenure, and of promotion to full professor), and I have personally chaired three such sub-committees. I have won awards from the LGBT organization on my campus for my public championing of gay rights, and from the Asian-American faculty on my campus for my public championing of the rights of minority faculty (especially in promotion cases). I voted for Kerry in 2004.
Here are my thoughts:
1. My conclusions as to the basic sequence of events are as follows:
a. In November 2004 Professor Bradford received a unanimous vote from the Law Faculty for promotion from untenured Assistant Professor to untenured Associate Professor.
b. In the early spring of 2005, Professor Bradford applied to be considered for tenure.
c. Bradford was told by Vice Chancellor Plater that he was not yet eligible: the usual period of pre-tenure probation at IUPUI--in terms of publication, teaching and service--is, as at most institutions, six years. On the other hand, there do not seem to be any rules at IUPUI against people coming up for tenure early, so it is not clear to me on what basis Vice Chancellor Plater said that Bradford was not eligible.
At my own university, the normal tenuring process--as at IUPUI--takes six years, but extraordinary situations occur, in which early tenure is applied for. Such early tenure cases are somewhat more dicey than regular tenure cases, but at my university they occur only when the existence of an extraordinary record of publication on the part of the candidate guarantees success. Bradford certainly has an extraordinary record of publication.
d. Despite the ruling of Vice Chancellor Plater, some sort of vote occurred in the Law Faculty in spring 2005 concerning Professor Bradford and tenure, and the vote was 10-5 in Bradford's favor. I gather there were actually two votes: 1) whether to retain Bradford, untenured, for another three years at IUPUI (that is: what is called a third-year review), and 2) whether future tenure was likely. The latter is a sort of "straw poll" on tenure: on the one hand, it was not a formal tenure vote; but on the other hand, it was a real vote concerning Bradford's prospects for tenure.
e. There was a vote of 10-5 to retain Bradford, untenured, for another three years (i.e., a 10-5 vote on third-year review), and, along with this, there was a vote of 10-5 in the "straw poll" on future tenure. While it is a positive vote, a 10-5 vote is not a strong positive vote. This is especially so if the negative votes are coming from senior faculty, i.e., full professors. Such a vote would raise red flags as the case proceeded into the higher administration for approval.
2. There is a mystery here. Bradford's main argument so far has been based on logic more than evidence, and the logic is as follows: since other people have gotten unanimous votes at IUPUI Law for permanent tenure while possessing far fewer publications than Bradford and a merely "satisfactory" rating on teaching and service, why was there a vote 10-5 on Bradford merely for third-year retention (as well as a similar straw-poll vote on future tenure), when his publication record is outstanding, he has a rating of "excellent" in both teaching and service--and is, to boot, one of only a dozen or so American Indian law professors in the country? To repeat: although a 10-5 vote on Bradford is a positive vote, it is not a strong positive vote. I agree in finding such an outcome disturbing on its face.
3. The mystery is why a law professor who is a Chiricahua Apache, with a book (on the honoring of treaties with Indians) and numerous scholarly articles (I count 21 law review articles or chapters in books), would have had such trouble on a vote for third-year review and retention as well as on a straw vote for tenure. In terms of publications, Bradford at least on the surface already has many, many times the number of scholarly publications required for outright tenure at IU Law. Indeed, to judge from the entries on the IUPUI Law Faculty website, Bradford has enough publications right now and at this moment to be a full professor at IUPUI Law-and even to hold an endowed chair there. That is: his publication record is the equal of most full professors at the Law School, and it is even the equal of some full professors with endowed Chairs (indeed, it is the equal of the publication record of Professor Roisman herself). It is therefore understandable why Professor Bradford might come up for early tenure-an additional factor being again, bluntly, that he is one of the very few Native American law professors in the country. Yet there was evidently a significant vote against Braford-both for future tenure, and even for retaining him, untenured, for another three years. Why should that have been? There needs to be an explanation.
4. It is noticeable that Professor Roisman, neither in her first letter nor her new letter to you, nor in any of her other public statements, provides such an explanation.
5. Professor Bradford says he was told by the chair of his own promotion committee that the issue in the spring 2005 promotion meeting was a serious problem with "collegiality."
a. Yet this is a category that the IU Faculty Handbook, and the IU higher administration, does not accept as valid for judging junior faculty in the Law School; the only written qualifications for tenure have to do with scholarship, teaching and service. If the voting was on the basis of issues of "collegiality" this was an inappropriate process (indeed, the employment of inappropriate categories to judge a candidate is an actionable violation of due process at my institution).
b. But did this situation actually occur? We do not know, and we need to know.
c. If such a situation DID occur, one cannot take cover here behind the argument of the "confidentiality" of the promotion process. At least at my institution, because of bitter experience where "confidentiality" was employed as a cover-up of abusive conduct towards innocent candidates, there is a written requirement that any faculty-member who perceives such abuse in a promotion meeting can report it directly to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. This is not considered a violation of confidentiality.
d. Professor Bradford is suspicious that the accusations about "collegiality" are a cover for sharp disagreement with his politics, which are not always to the left (though sometimes they are). In specific, he notes that he had a unanimous vote for promotion to associate professor without tenure in autumn 2004, but--after refusing to sign a letter circulated by Professor Roisman defending Ward Churchill--he got the 10-5 vote on tenure in spring 2005. Denial of tenure on grounds of disagreement about external politics would certainly be an actionable violation of due process at my institution.
e. I do not know the truth about what occurred, and Professor Bradford runs the risk here of "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" reasoning. But in my experience "collegiality" has indeed been used as a weapon against minority faculty (especially, may I say, minority men) who do not toe the proper ideological line expected of minorities by those who have hired them--for instance, against those who have gotten into intense arguments with white faculty-members who are advocates of affirmative action. I have personally seen such conduct held against a minority in a later promotion-meeting, on grounds of "collegiality." It was a scandal that split the department involved. Professor Bradford is suspicious that something of this order has occurred in his case. My own personal experience is not evidence that this actually has occurred at IUPUI; on the other hand, it suggests that Professor Bradford is not crazy to bring this issue up.
f. It has also been my experience that it is dangerous for untenured faculty, but especially for minority faculty,--and, I have to say it again, especially especially for minority male faculty--to get involved in any sort of hallway argument, even merely an intellectual argument, with any faculty-member. It will be held against them. Did something like that happen here?
6. To return to the mystery: Professor Roisman insists in her second letter to you that the problem was not "collegiality." But if not "collegiality," what then was the problem?
a. It cannot have been service, since Bradford's service especially to indigenous people's legal organizations is strong. I note also his being invited to train attorneys in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., on the Laws of Armed Conflict.
b. It is difficult to believe that the problem was Bradford's scholarship: in 2004/2005 IU named Bradford a Dean's Fellow in recognition of his large number of publications and his scholarly excellence. He has produced about five times the minimum requirement in scholarly publications for tenure. That is precisely why he desired to come up early for tenure. So how can scholarship be the issue? If it will now be alleged that there is suddenly some problem with his scholarship, such an assertion would be very suspect.
c. That leaves the area of teaching. In my experience, Bradford's teaching would have to be truly awful to cancel out his very large scholarly achievements. But the evidence indicates that Bradford's teaching evaluations were not merely "satisfactory," but actually "excellent". This is borne out in the many positive comments I saw about Bradford on IUPUI law student websites, comments which emphasized Bradford's openness to debate and free discussion of issues.
7. The newspaper columnist was wrong to say that Bradford was being denied tenure: Professor Roisman is correct about that. The newspaper column was inaccurate in implying that this was a formal tenure vote.
On the other hand, the newspaper column was not inaccurate in a very broad sense (grosso modo, as Sartre would say). I mean: that five of 15 members of the Law Faculty voted against retention of Bradford, untenured, even for another three years, and then voted against tenure for Bradford in a "straw poll"--that is a bad sign for his eventual tenure case. But if so, then we do indeed have a situation where a minority legal scholar with an excellent teaching record, a truly extraordinary publication record, and significant service to the legal profession might well be denied tenure at IUPUI Law School. That, one may say, is a story--and so the basic thrust of the newspaper column was not so wrong. Meanwhile, although Professor Roisman may be technically correct that there was no formal vote on tenure, it seems to me fundamentally misleading on her part to deny that this was some sort of vote on tenure, and especially to call assertions to the contrary a "lie." They are not.
8. So again we return to the mystery. This vote occurred before Bradford took the issue public, so the bitterness caused by the newspaper article and other publicity cannot have been the cause of the original 10-5 vote. So what then was the cause of the original 10-5 vote? I re-state that non-academic readers should not be fooled: such a vote is, in my experience, not a strong vote in favor of tenure. So why did such a vote occur?
a. While Professor Bradford's coming up for tenure early may well have been a factor in some faculty's hesitation to vote for him, he had an excellent case for coming up early, so I find it difficult to believe that this was the decisive issue. Something else was.
b. Professor Roisman's letter seeks to eliminate possible reasons why she voted against Bradford (i.e., she says it wasn't their sharp differences in politics; and she denies having made a racist-political remark about "Clarence Tomahawk"). But she never then says why she actually did vote against him. I find that unusual.
c. It is certainly Professor Roisman's right to remain silent on why she voted against Professor Bradford--but then we have the right to wonder on what possible grounds she did vote against him. Here I note with some sadness the consistent statements on law student websites that Professor Roisman (unlike Professor Bradford) is intolerant in the classroom of opinions that differ from hers. If I am wrong to draw any implications from that regarding her vote on Professor Bradford's retention and tenure, Professor Roisman can end such speculation by explaining in a convincing fashion her exact reasons for voting against a candidate who on the surface has achieved far, far more than the requirements for tenure.
9. This brings me, finally, to the element within the material I have been sent which I find the most disturbing. In my 25 years in academia I have never seen such an abusive letter from a full professor to an untenured faculty member as the letter which Professor Roisman sent to Professor Bradford. It is seething with hatred; it seems positively gleeful about the negative vote which Professor Roisman cast against Bradford (frankly, I found this last part to be truly awful). The tone of this letter is totally inappropriate, especially given the power imbalance (senior vs. junior) between the two faculty.
In my Department there would likely be consequences against the sender of such a letter. Once it was brought to his attention, I cannot imagine my own Chair letting it slide. That Bradford is a minority only makes the situation more sensitive. Professor Roisman, as a senior scholar, ought to have more sense. Moreover, because this letter was sent to many faculty, it might well be perceived as a stern warning not just to Bradford but to everyone junior to Professor Roisman of what will happen to them if they cross her. Stunningly inappropriate.
If I were Professor Bradford, I would take this letter and complain to the Provost or the President of IUPUI. Especially because he is a Native American, all kinds of administrative sensitivities would-and should--be raised.
Again, these are my thoughts as far as I have seen the material.
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