Good summation of the Ward Churchill case from Inside Higher Ed of Higher Ed:
The meaning of the Churchill case has been heatedly debated over the past two-plus years. To Churchill and his defenders, he is a victim of politics and of a right wing attack on freedom of thought. To Brown and others at the university, Churchill’s case is not about politics at all about enforcing academic integrity and punishing those who don’t live up to basic rules of research honesty. To many others in academe, the Churchill case has been less clearcut. Many academics have said that they are troubled by both the findings of research misconduct against Churchill and by the reality that his work received intense scrutiny only after his political views drew attention to him.
Churchill has been working at Boulder since 1978 and has been a tenured professor of ethnic studies since 1991. In the years before 2005, he gained a reputation at Colorado and on the college lecture circuit nationally as an impassioned speaker and writer on behalf of Native Americans. Most of his speeches were attended by supporters of his views, so he did not attract widespread criticism.
All of that changed early in 2005, however, when Churchill was scheduled to speak at Hamilton College. Some professors there, who did not feel Churchill was an ideal speaker, circulated some of his writings, including an essay with the the now notorious remark comparing World Trade Center victims on 9/11 to “little Eichmanns.” Within days, the controversy spread — with Hamilton under pressure to uninvite Churchill and Colorado under pressure to fire him. Hamilton stood by its invitation, on academic freedom grounds, but in the end called off the appearance, based on threats of violence.
As the University of Colorado considered what to do, a series of accusations against Churchill started to come in that involved his scholarly practices. While Churchill repeatedly has portrayed his critics as conservatives, a number of those who brought complaints against him share his fury at the U.S. government’s treatment of Native Americans. The complaints included charges of plagiarism, of false descriptions of other scholars’ work or historical evidence, and of fabrications. The university first determined that it could not fire Churchill based on his statements about 9/11, but that it could investigate the other allegations of misconduct, which it then proceeded to do. Three separate faculty panels then found Churchill guilty of multiple instances of research misconduct. The various panels had splits on whether Churchill deserved to be fired and those splits were complicated.
With all those allegations of plagiarism and academic fraud, the real scandal is the length of time it took for Churchill to lose his job.
On a sidenote, I watched about 3 minutes of the “O’Reilly Factor” last night. He had a prof from Temple on and the two of them went around and around on the Churchill case. This show (and all the others like it) is a sorry excuse for reasoned debate in our society. Apparently arguments are considered won or lost on these shows by the length of time it takes to respond to the statement of your opponent. Not a particularly good measure. No wonder I watch less and less TV.