What's next, Ward.Churchill.com?

As I mentioned a few days ago, I sent an email to the members of the Colorado Board of Regents about Ward Churchill– not so much in support of him (in my mind), but in support of the cause of academic freedom, free speech, and tenure. Here’s what I received back this morning from something called “CU General Distribution List:”

SUBJECT: Response Concerning Professor Churchill
FROM: Philip P. DiStefano, Interim Chancellor
SENDER: Pauline Hale, UCB Communications Executive Director

DATE: February 10, 2005

On behalf of the Board of Regents and President Hoffman, I want to thank you for taking the time to comment on Professor Ward Churchill. While the issue is difficult, we can only be served by having an open and honest dialog as we move forward together.

Let me state unequivocally that Professor Churchill’s views are his own and do not represent the views of University of Colorado faculty, staff, students, administration or Regents.

As you may suspect, we have received comments from concerned local and national citizens expressing viewpoints that range from urging for his dismissal from the CU-Boulder faculty and other disciplinary measures to supporting his right to express his opinions.

At the Feb. 3 Board of Regents meeting, I announced a course of action that provides due process. Over the next few weeks, I will oversee a thorough examination of Professor Churchill’s writings, speeches, tape recordings and other works. The purpose of this internal review is to determine whether Professor Churchill overstepped his bounds as a faculty member, showing cause for dismissal as outlined in the Laws of the Regents.

At the conclusion of this examination, I will determine whether to issue a notice of intent to dismiss for cause, other action as appropriate, or no action. If a notice to dismiss for cause or some other action is issued then the subsequent process will be governed by the Laws of the Regents.

Before such a decision can be made, the University must observe due process as required by the U.S. Constitution and the Laws of the Regents. The University is obligated to carefully balance the protections afforded by the First Amendment, as well as follow very specific University rules and processes for faculty discipline. Our processes will guide our actions in the most thoughtful and equitable manner.

I am hopeful that you will consider the actions already taken to deal with this matter that strikes so deeply at both our national conscience and the core tenets of any institution of higher education.

President Hoffman has stated, “The rights afforded those of us in the academic community to pursue our scholarly work come with a heavy responsibility to behave with integrity and professionalism and to meet the highest ethical standards our disciplines demand. These standards create the boundaries within which academic freedom rests.”

I encourage you to visit the CU-Boulder News Center Web site at for additional information and updates on this situation.

Again, we thank you for your interest in the University of Colorado and for expressing your opinion.


Philip P. DiStefano Interim Chancellor

Just a few thoughts about this:

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