Tuition and fees at the University of Colorado are certainly not the highest in the country by any means – add on-campus room and board, and books and supplies, and it will run the average student just under $16 thousand for two semesters. So what type of an education does a CU student get for the money? Well, if he or she enrolled in one of Professor Ward Churchillâ€™s classes, they didnâ€™t get much more than ranting from a poseur and exasperating blowhard.
It was Professor Churchill, youâ€™ll recall, who called the victims of 9/11 “little Eichmanns,” referring to Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi head of the Gestapoâ€™s Jewish section who was ultimately responsible for the murder of millions of Jews. That comparison by Churchill is all the more provocative when one considers that hundreds of the doomed occupants of the Twin Towers, who were employed by many of the financial institutions housed there, were themselves Jewish.
But Churchillâ€™s diatribe doesnâ€™t end there. As professor of ethnic studies at Colorado U., he has conducted many classes in which he classified the United States as a genocidal nation, deserving of every agony that 9/11 wrought. He has compared Christopher Columbus with Heinrich Himmler, the head of Hitlerâ€™s secret police. He claims to be an American Indian, a member of the Kettowah Cherokee tribe, an assertion that has been refuted by the tribe itself. And while the university inexplicably catapulted Churchill to a tenured professorship and head of a department with an annual salary of $115,000 plus benefits, his academic credentials consist of a masterâ€™s degree in communications from “Sangamon State University,” an experimental school for student radicals in Springfield, Illinois.
Writing in Slate, the online magazine, Dahlia Lithwick notes that “one couldnâ€™t unearth a less attractive poster boy for free speech rights in academia.” LithwickÂ believes that the people who hired Churchill should also be fired. Churchill has resigned his post at the university, following a recommendation by CUâ€™s president and its board of regents that he be fired. While Churchill claims his right to free speech is being violated, those academics demanding his ouster say it is his scholarship that is in serious question and that there are numerous examples of plagiarism and falsifying documents.
The Rocky Mountain News took a close look at Churchillâ€™s “scholarly works” and found that much of his writing is historically and factually inaccurate and that in at least four instances he had clearly claimed the work of others as his own. A Canadian professor, Fay Cohen, charged that an essay of hers was copied almost verbatim by Churchill, who then passed it off as his own writing. Churchill brushed offÂ Cohen’s indictment, saying he was simply doing some “creative editing, not unlike the duties of a rewrite man at a newspaper.”
Even with all this negative baggage piling up around Churchill, the board of regents at CU managed to damn him with faint praise. The Associated Press, quoted in this monthâ€™s The New Criterion, reports that the board found Churchill “guilty of numerous acts of plagiarism, fabrication, and falsification” and that his work was “below minimum standards of professional integrity.” The board then added this incredible footnote: “Although this case shows misbehavior, it does not show the worst possible misbehavior [emphasis added].
The New CriterionÂ continues, “Yes, thatâ€™s right: you can be mad, bad, and dangerous to know…turn your college classroom into a center for anti-American propaganda: all thatâ€™s just fine. So long as you are not the worst, your tenure at the University of Colorado is inviolable.” Professor Churchill need not worry about being silenced. Google his name and you will be told there have been more than a million hits. His lawyers say he is already planning a civil rights lawsuit. He may end up extremely wealthy as a result. And there will always be those sophomoric hangers-on who will pay good money to attend one of those Churchill lectures portraying the 9/11 terrorists as freedom fighters. As has been observed, “You donâ€™t have to look far to find those who would destroy America. Many are sitting in the faculty lounges.”