Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

April 4, 2009

$1.00

by Stephen Littau

This is the amount a jury awarded the America hating professor, Ward Churchill in his civil rights lawsuit against The University of Colorado. Despite charges of academic misconduct “deliberate and repeated plagiarism, falsification, and fabrication” Churchill and his legal team turned his dismissal from CU into a First Amendment free speech issue.

Maybe I don’t quite understand how tenure is supposed to work, but this idea that someone is entitled to a job regardless of how his or her actions damage the reputation of his or her employer (CU in this case) is asinine. Ward Churchill’s firing is not a First Amendment issue but a freedom of association issue (in this case, CU decided to discontinue its association with the professor).

The First Amendment protects speech from government reprisals. I suppose one could argue that Churchill’s employer was the State of Colorado (a wonderful example for why all higher learning institutions should be privately owned, operated, and funded) and therefore, was a government reprisal.

Local Denver attorneys and talk show hosts Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman point out that Churchill took an oath pursuant to Colorado State law to uphold the U.S. Constitution. From their legal point-of-view, Churchill violated this oath when he encouraged students (on multiple occasions) to commit acts of violence against private and government institutions as well as private citizens. How can Churchill take an oath to a constitution he finds illegal and immoral, violate that oath, and still have legal grounds to remain employed by the State?

Beyond this, university speech codes, politically correct as they are, how is it possible to say that one professor could be legitimately fired for violating the prevailing P.C. orthodoxy while Churchill is entitled to a job despite praising the OKC bombing and the 9/11 terrorist attacks? Caplis, on his radio show, pointed out that if Churchill had said, for example, that female students on the CU campus deserved to be raped; his career would be over (and rightfully so). Few would be claiming his First Amendment rights were being violated by CU if these were his words.

Ward Churchill may not deserve to be prosecuted for his hateful speech but he doesn’t have the “right” to teach at CU either.

To Mr. Churchill I would just like to say the following:

Congratulations on your $1 civil rights victory (which you do not deserve); don’t spend it all in one place…asshole!

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  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    Stephen,

    Read Warren Meyer on this topic.

    I think he lays it out rather simply. Tenure is designed to protect controversial speech. CU claimed they fired him not for his controversial speech, but for his lack of any academic rigor in his work — but there is no academic rigor in most racial/gender studies programs generally, so here it’s just a cover to fire him for his controversial speech.

    The court may be right to find that CU illegally fired him — not a freedom of association issue, but rather a breach of contract (tenure) issue.

  • Akston

    I also despise Ward Churchill. He makes that very easy to do. While I concede that he is articulate and perhaps well-read, he tends to use these advantages to browbeat young college students and con others into buying into all manner of snake oil. He’s a hate-mongering grifter.

    I completely agree with the original post that matters like this are exacerbated or even created by the ill-advised practice of the government having a stake in any business. We’re likely on the verge of many more such conflicts as the Feds buy into more and more companies using our future earnings.

    I also agree that this should have been about free association between Churchill and his employer. He shouldn’t have been able to sue them for firing him any more than they should have been able to sue him for leaving. No one has a “right” to a job any more than an employer should have a “right” to an employee.

    Given my view of him and the right of free association, I was surprised to still be conflicted about this case. Here’s the problem for me:

    CU could have investigated and fired him for his obvious lies and plagiarisms years ago. Many knew about these things for quite a while. It was only after he published his detestable views about 9/11 that the college apparently acceded to pressure from Governor Owens to fire him.

    His defense was successfully able to convince the jury that it was State pressure that lead to his dismissal, not his lies and plagiarisms.

    This was the university’s case to lose. If they don’t act until government pressure makes them, it becomes an issue of the government getting someone fired because he wrote something that people didn’t like. That’s pretty darned close to a first amendment issue to me.

    But I still despise the man.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Stephen Littau

    If CU knew that Churchill was likley plagiarising and decided not to launch an investigation until after his 9/11 screed, then I say shame on CU. In just about every class I take I am required to read over the university’s plagiarism policy. Any student who is caught suffers severe consequences.

    But maybe things have changed. After all, this did not disqualify Joe Biden from becoming the next Vice President of the United States!

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