Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why Churchill Matters

The University of Colorado’s firing Tuesday of Professor Ward Churchill has broad implications. This isn’t just about one man, and it has never been about his research or about plagiarism.

One of the first things CU President Hank Brown did after the Regents’ announced their decision to fire Churchill was to call several foundation donors who were withholding their money pending resolution of the issue (read: canning his ass). While I think on the surface this is “about money”, and about whitey mom and whitey pop sitting at home clutching their pearls and wallet, this is really more about the clamps on social liberty being tightened. The academy in this country has always been the last bastion of free thinking and social justice movements (although the university community’s support of Churchill was non-existent save for a small handful of professors and a larger handful of students and staff). Shutting down a scholar like Churchill – who, lets not forget, works on correcting the historical record around matters of genocide – sends a very powerful message, or is meant to. Calling his work plagiarized, and his research methods shoddy, is so offensive, I can’t even articulate it.

I think we should all be fairly afraid of what happened in Boulder this week.

If you want to read more and better coverage of this issue, check out the Try-Works blog (if you can stomach their pissing contest in the comments section with “the other side” faction).

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