Ward of the State University

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 12:56 pm by Neal
Fake Indian Ward Churchill in fake “Che” pose. Everything about this disgraced man is fake.

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Last week we celebrated the overdue yet exciting news that Ward Churchill — falsity fabricator, plagiarizer, and fake Indian — was fired by the University of Colorado. It’s about time. The New York Post has an article on how this Ward of the State University has awakened America to the realization that our Universities are little more than publicly-funded leftist indoctrination and propaganda centers, and that tenure is just a way to protect politically biased professors. The Post’s article, “Wages of Ward: Academy Exposed” is well worth your time:

For more than 25 years, conservative writers have been telling anyone who would listen that our higher education system was broken – that indoctrination was trumping education and our kids were throwing away their tuition dollars propping up vicious relics of the ’60s and supporting universities that were increasingly repressive. …

Enter Ward Churchill. One could not paint a more perfect picture of a spiteful, out-of-control leftist academic. Certainly his words were shocking – comparing the civilian victims of 9/11 to a Nazi leader was not only shockingly vicious, it was shockingly stupid.

But if the case were a matter of words only, we would’ve already forgotten his name. Who, after all, remembers the Columbia professor who called for a “million Mogadishus?” Or the University of New Mexico professor who said, “Anybody who can blow up the Pentagon gets my vote?” Or the Xavier University professor who called an Air Force Academy cadet a “disgrace” and condemned his “aggressive baby-killing tactics?” For in Churchill’s case, there was much more at stake.

The more we learned about Ward Churchill, the greater the disbelief. It turned out that this academic gadfly wasn’t some low-ranked lecturer but the chairman of a department. And he became chairman of the University of Colorado’s ethnic-studies department despite merely having a master’s degree in communications. (Most department chairs have doctoral degrees in the field they teach.) He loudly says he is Native American, but his claims were deemed “fraudulent” by the very tribe that he calls his own. Even worse, much of his academic work was found to be fabricated or plagiarized. Instead of a bold but controversial intellectual, America saw a charlatan promoted because of his politics.

Read the whole thing here.


Writing at the Corner, Stanley Kurtz brings us up-to-date on “the trouble with tenure.” Kurtz links to some wonderful articles on the topic.

As a follow-up to yesterday’s “Abolish Tenure” post, here are some quick and readable references on the topic. In 1999, The Washington Monthly ran an excellent critique of tenure by Robert Worth called, “The Velvet Prison.” Yes, The Washington Monthly–there are plenty of reasons to get rid of tenure that liberals and conservatives can agree on. But of course, I’m not the first conservative to note that the core justification of tenure no longer holds water. At the very start of the Ward Churchill affair in 2005, Max Boot made the same point, as did Victor Davis Hanson. Finally, Cathy Ann Trower’s piece, “The Trouble With Tenure,” is based on interviews with several tenure opponents, all of whom recommend long-term contracts (alongside tenure, or instead of tenure) as an alternative. The Worth and Trower pieces also raise some of the most widely heard objections to tenure abolition.

Trower’s piece is particularly interesting because it begins by recounting the frustrations of governors and state legislators with tenure, and refers to several attempts by legislatures to abolish or reform it. Clearly the path to any practical plan for abolishing tenure runs through state legislatures (and/or state-wide voter initiatives). Before that can happen, however, more work needs to be done on laying the groundwork for a public case.

After rereading these references, and lots of excellent mail, I’m struck by how little the main objections to abolishing tenure have to do with the core rationale for creating tenure in the first place–the protection and promotion of a marketplace of ideas. As Boot says, “The rigid ideological intolerance of American universities makes a mockery of tenure’s primary justification.”

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