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May 16, 2006 08:00 AM UTC

Ward Churchill Investigation Finds Serious Misconduct

  • by: Colorado Pols

It’s been a long time since we posted on anything involving?Ward Churchill, but a new report made public does not bode well for the CU professor. From the Rocky Mountain News:

University of Colorado investigative committee found deliberate and serious misconduct by ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill, including plagiarism, fabrication, and “serious deviation from accepted practices in reporting results from research,” according to a report made public today.

The committee also noted Churchill was “disrespectful of Indian oral traditions” when he wrote the U.S. government distributed blankets infested with smallpox to Mandan Indians in 1837 on the Upper Missouri River.

Three of the five members of the committee said the transgressions were serious enough that CU could revoke Churchill?s tenure and fire him. But two of those three said the most appropriate sanction would be a five-year suspension without pay.

The other two committee members said they were “troubled by the circumstances under which these allegations have been made,” and “believe his dismissal would have an adverse effect on other scholars? ability to conduct their research.” Those two recommended that Churchill be suspended without pay for two years.

Research misconduct encompasses a spectrum of academic wrongdoing – everything from plagiarism to fabrication to falsification.

The committee also said it was concerned about the timing and motives of the investigation, which was launched amid public outcry over and essay Churchill wrote about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.


31 thoughts on “Ward Churchill Investigation Finds Serious Misconduct

  1. I was just watching the streaming video on of the committee’s presser…  good grief, some of the comments being made by the committee memembers made it clear that CU has no intention of doing anything about this cancer known as Ward Churchill. 

    Read the last paragraph in the above blockquote… the committee’s more concerned about the timing and motives of the investigation.  HELLO?  WARD CHURCHILL IS A FRAUD!


  2. Get over it, man. The problem here is that Churchill was made a scapegoat by a bunch of overly sensitive nationalists who can’t stand the idea of free speech. Besides, everyone misconstrued Churchill’s original point: that 9/11 happened because of our economic and foreign policy.

  3. For the record:

    The conclusions of the investigative committee that examined seven allegations of research misconduct against University of Colorado ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill:
    Charge A: That Churchill misrepresented the General Allotment Act of 1887 in his writings by incorrectly writing that it created a “blood quantum” standard that allowed tribes to admit members only if they had at least half native blood.
    Finding: Falsification, failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications.
    Charge B: That Churchill misrepresented the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 by incorrectly writing that the act imposed a “blood quantum” requiring artists to prove they were one-quarter Indian by blood.
    Finding: Falsification, failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications.
    Charge C: That Churchill incorrectly claimed there was “some pretty strong circumstantial evidence” that Capt. John Smith introduced smallpox among the Wampanoag Indians between 1614-1618.
    Finding: Falsification and fabrication.
    Charge D: That in several writings Churchill falsely accused the U.S. Army of committing genocide by distributing blankets infested with smallpox to Mandan Indians in the Upper Missouri River Valley in 1837.
    Finding: Falsification, fabrication, failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications, and serious deviation from accepted practices in reporting results from research. The committee also found that Churchill was “disrespectful of Indian oral tradition.”
    Charge E: That Churchill claimed as his own work a 1972 pamphlet about a water-diversion scheme in Canada titled “The Water Plot.” The work actually was written by a now-defunct environmental group, “Dam the Dams.”
    Finding: Plagiarism.
    Charge F: That Churchill plagiarized part of an essay written by Rebecca L. Robbins in a book he published in 1993.
    Finding: No misconduct
    Charge G: That Churchill plagiarized the writings of Canadian professor Fay G. Cohen in a 1992 essay.
    Finding: Plagiarism.
    University of Colorado report of the investigative committee.

    Free speech issue, my arse.

  4. I wasn’t addressing the plagiarism charges, you moron. I was talking about the fact that he’s been demonized because of the “little Eichmanns” fiasco.

    I completely agree that he should be dismissed if he plagiarized anything, but to be honest, I could give a shit about Churchill. My concern was and is the nationalistic reaction to the essay that sparked this whole blaze.

  5. Churchill should be fired. Period. Any place that you work and don’t follow standard procedures and lie are grounds for dismissal.

  6. Jack, spare me your grade school insults.  You’re on record as excusing Churchill’s fraud.  If you don’t give a “****”, then why are you posting?  If you didn’t know about his plagiarism, why are you even commenting? 

    Churchill is the tip of an iceberg at CU and their precious tenure program, and that is why this supposed “august committee” is defending him, because his fraud has caused a light to be shone where only cockroaches dare to tread.

  7. Some of CU’s putative academic departments are, like some of its athletic programs, simply welfare plans for the otherwise unemployable. 

    Churchill was just begging for a scalping, and it’s a pity the Democrats didn’t have the guts to do it themselves.  Some of them even claimed WC as a liberal, just handing on a silver platter a renewable verbiage source to the talk radio echo chamber.

  8. What ever happened to the good old days when people got fired for this kind of crap? All five members are recommending some form of suspension without pay.

    Give me a break. Fire his ass.

  9. I kind of like the 5-year suspension without pay.  Would love to see how long his employment prospects last in the real world.

    Besides, WTF do you do with a degree in Ethnic Studies?  Sell Used Cars or Insurance?  Go back to school to become a Massage Therapist?

  10. So fire his sorry ass and be done with it.

    Trouble is, I think the Repugs want him around until at least November as a campaign issue.

  11. What ever happened to the good old days when people got fired for this kind of crap? All five members are recommending some form of suspension without pay.

    Retirement pay is why.  They want to reward him for his continuing fraud. 

    You should have heard the comments the committee members were making.  It was sickening to hear one woman say that in all her years at CU, she’d always had some sort of regret in her research work… except for the times she worked with WC.  HUH?  THIS is a member of the committee? 

    Like I said – what a joke.

  12. Ahhh, good point, Remarkable. I forgot all about his retirement.

    I wonder if there is a way around that whole issue of tenure/retirement since he’s been found guilty of several charges of falsification and plagiarism.

    I’d love to get paid for lying.

  13. the sad thing is firing or suspending him will do nothing. like so many other losers in academia, churchill will quickly find another job, probably with immediate tenure, an increase in pay and benefits, a decrease in classload, an increase in grant money and research time and sabbaticals, and spend the next ten years suing the state while writing books and making speeches for millions of dollars.

  14. Ward Churchill is a “scholar” … that’s best part. At CU Fraud=Scholar. Used to be that CU would showcase their Nobel Prize winners; now CU showcases Ward Churchill. How’s this? No tenure in Colorado.

  15. Let me get this straight.  If a student plagiarises their work, they 1) can be given an immediate “F”, 2) placed on academic suspension for violation of the student Code of Conduct, and/or 3) dropped out of the college or university entirely.

    Students are continually informed abou the right and wrong ways of conducting research and writing papers.  They are continually informed about how to properly cite scholarly work.

    Now, I must admit I’m stumped.  If you can do this to a student, are you saying that under the current rules, the punishment for a professor would be less?

    Now if that doesn’t smack of hypocricy!!!  Something about the pot calling the kettle black.  Just picture this.  Everytime a student is brought up on plagiarism charges, they use the “Churchill” defense and move on to graduation.  Do those idiots in Boulder actually think this kind of strategy they are currently employing will not result in this?  These people truly are nuts!!!

  16. There is an great analysis of Ward’s transgressions by Eugen Volokh (UCLA law Prof) at the Huffington Post.

    There is no doubt that the man should be fired.  I have several close friends and family who are professors and I have had some great discussions about Ward’s debacle. I think that there are several reasons that this sort of thing happens. 

    (1) It is very dificult to get rid of someone after tenure.  It is not impossable as there is a very effective process that is in place to take care of these things, but they rely on effective chairs and administrations who have the balls to pull the trigger.  I have heard of several instances where departments wanted to relieve themselves of a poor prof only to be let down by a spineless administration. 

    I am not advocating getting rid of tenure like some of you partisan hacks are like Republitarian. If that were done then you would see a lot of the best Prof’s leave Colorado for more secure and stable employment in other states.  The economic success that the front range has had over the last 15 years is due in large part because of the great academic situation that CU and CSU offere to business like H.P. 

    (2)  How does a man like Churchill get tenure in the first place?  There is a lot of pressure on academic departments to maintain high student numbers to justify their programs.  When you get someone with a great deal of charisma and can attract high student numbers it counts for a lot in the world of administrators because it pays the bills.  I understand that Churchill’s lecture hall was always packed, and not always by poeple who agreed with him.  In a way it is a lot like other jobs where there is the arrisal of the least compitant and the most personally dynamic people get to “manage” the one’s who know what they are doing. 

    Churchill is a charlatian for sure, and he fooled a lot of smart people. Read Volokh’s post and see just how far he went to decieve.

  17. The only minds WC can warp are those already warped or easily warped. WC is as much a joke to the majority of students as is the ES department. Need an easy grade to fill out your humaities requirement, take a WC course, bleat back whatever he says, get the A and get on with your studies. The man’s a poseur and a laughing stock. Keep the idiot around, give him all the required courses and work him til he quits. He won’t last under a hot light. It’s cheaper and in the long run easier than firing him and giving David Lane a lot of money.

  18. Ward Churchill should be fired by C.U.  Academic misconduct is serious, and this seems clear-cut.

    Having said that, I completely deplore the witch hunt that began this.  It’s good Churchill has been exposed as a fraud.  But those who’ve taken this up as a crusade are the David Horowitz crowd–people who want to control thought in academic institutions by cementing a false “balance” into legally approved speech. 

    Ultimately they’re not interested in improving Colorado’s flagship University by weeding out bad apples like Churchill, they simply want to destroy CU, and the current higher education system in general.  Read the comments here and see their glee.  Nothing good can come of that.

  19. Hippocritimous, why don’t you go back and roll around in the mud for a while? You say you support firing him, as a cover for your hate-america-first agenda. It doesn’t fool posters here, I’m sure.

    You lefties are the ones with the speech codes. And successful people succeed in SPITE of our insane, communist-controlled higher education system, not because of it.

    How does Horowitz want to “control”? BY exposing the truth and writing books? I know, I know, to you communifascists on the left, that is really threatening.

    Bet you would support a purge of such dangerous people. Or would it be a “putsch”?

  20. Jose, do you have an argument underneath all that ad hominem?  Hippoponymous is pointing out that there are two values central to higher ed — free speech and academic honesty.  They’re flatly in conflict in this case.  I agree that Churchill’s dishonesty merits firing, but the legal problem here (I suspect) is that the environment that spurred the investigation gives David Lane lots of ammo to waste a lot of the university’s time, money and reputation in federal court, no more of which it can afford to lose.  I want Churchill gone, but if a buyout is what gets him gone, I’ll hold my nose and take it.  And given the legislature’s recent attempts to manage the academics of the university (as opposed to doing something about corruption in U sports, you’ll note), I think H’s nervousness about the future of CU is reasonable.

  21. Jose,

    Hippocritimous, why don’t you go back and roll around in the mud for a while? You say you support firing him, as a cover for your hate-america-first agenda.

    Here’s where I stopped reading.

    Here’s my point, shorter:  I want Churchill gone because I care about CU and higher education in general.  You want him gone because you don’t.

  22. Quote of the day:

    “I want to work at an actual university. Hopefully that would be the University of Colorado. I’ve spent the better part of my professional career trying to make that institution measure up to its promise and its pretensions.  I am greatly saddened that it has chosen to tarnish its own reputation by genuflecting power and shaping fact to fit the particular preferences of those who wield power.”

    – Ward Churchill
    May 16, 2006

  23. Oy vey, I look forward to not hearing from Professor Churchill any more.  Let’s hope CU at least suspends him, if not revokes his tenure or lets him go.

    I read his statement at CounterPunch today, and while he may have some legitimate complaints about the panel and not being given an extension, he doesn’t rebut the findings of fact with any substance.

  24. Well, and the full report makes it clear that his standard MO is not to respond to critiques of his arguments with anything other than personal attacks (hmmm, does he post here?).

  25. CU is a joke.  It has been very poorly run for a very long time.  The WC situation is a symptom of a much larger problem. 

    Unfortunately, the right-wing idiot fringe gives guys like WC cover by attacking him on what he said, rather than on his failure as a scholar.  You clean out the rats nest by calling him on accuracy, not on his opinion. 

    Rush and the rest of the stupid set have probably given this guy all he needs to sue and win.

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