Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Vile liar falls

The sacking of Colorado U. Prof. Ward Churchill is a necessity. Universities are supposed to inquire, inform, seek and obtain the truth in order to educate and enlighten. How does a proven liar of middling intellectual capacity (at best) assist a university in its mission? He doesn't.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a non-partisan non-profit that wrote a letter to the President of the University demanding (correctly) that it respect Churchill's free speech rights, even if it detested his moronic opinions. (The Monk paraphrases). Today, FIRE
President David French notes that the Churchill situation is about far more than merely his opinions.

[T]he case [has] moved on from Ward Churchill’s protected speech to his long (and checkered) past. The radical academic left could hardly have chosen a worse standard-bearer. An under-qualified, arguably fake Native American with a long history of not just plagiarism and other forms of academic fraud, but also a disturbing tendency to threaten and intimidate his critics, it turned out that Churchill was the kind of person who could only exist within the coddling atmosphere of either a radical activist organization or a university ethnic studies department (as if those things are different). Faced with overwhelming evidence of misconduct, it took well over a year for Churchill to face his day of reckoning.

As he received more due process than any ordinary American ever receives in the course of their professional lives, Churchill’s dogged fight to keep his job only reinforced to many Americans the notion that faculty view themselves as a breed apart – entitled to lucrative lifetime employment no matter what they do. And that may well end up as the lasting legacy of the Churchill case: the tipping point that led an increasing number of ordinary Americans to view the academy as an out-of-control, disconnected bastion of spoiled and petulant entitlement. The academic left decries the “chilling effect” of Churchill’s termination, but the only individuals who should feel “chilled” are those professors publicly spewing deranged invective at that same time that they conceal a professional past rife with fraud and abuse. No, the real (and important) legacy of the Churchill case is that he became the most famous professor in America, and he was the worst possible ambassador for an academy that is under ever-increasing scrutiny.

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