Quite a while ago, I sent an email to the CU board of regents about the whole Ward Churchill thing. In the nutshell I urged the board of regents to uphold Churchill’s rights for free speech and to defend the concept of academic freedom. Just this evening, I received this email:
Subject: CHANCELLOR’S EMAIL TO PREVIOUS WRITERS
Date: March 24, 2005 7:55:33 PM EST
SUBJECT: CHANCELLOR’S EMAIL TO PREVIOUS WRITERS
FROM: Office of the Chancellor
DATE: March 24, 2005
You were one of many citizens who wrote or called the University of Colorado at Boulder concerning the controversial essay about 9/11 written by Professor Ward Churchill. Because of your interest, I am writing to share with you the outcome of our review of allegations concerning Professor Churchill’s conduct and scholarship.
In short, our review team found that Professor Churchill’s controversial essay on 9/11 and other public comments are protected by the First Amendment, but that other allegations of plagiarism, misuse of others’ work and fabrication may constitute research misconduct.
The report also points to possible research misconduct related to allegations that Churchill misrepresented his ethnicity to gain credibility and attract an audience for his scholarship. Research misconduct, if proven, is subject to university sanctions.
We take these allegations very seriously and will address them through established university procedures that require due process. I have determined that the allegations of research misconduct should be referred to the campus’s Standing Committee on Research Misconduct for thorough investigation. Appropriate action will be taken upon completion of the committee’s work.
More information and a copy of the full report are available on the campus web site at www.colorado.edu/news. Thank you for your continuing interest in the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Chancellor Phil DiStefano
As I’ve mentioned here (I think) and in other places, the more I have learned about Churchill over the last couple of months, the less adamant I’ve become in defending him. If these allegations about Churchill plagiarizing turn out to be true, well, then he probably deserves whatever it is he gets.
Supposedly, this is going to lead to a review of tenure in the Colorado University system. Well, we’ll see. Churchill or not, I think the basic premise of tenure is still important and still intact.