Ward Churchill In Court

With Mikhail temporarily (I sincerely hope) gone, not to add to the drama, but I have to say that you’ve been a real friend and mentor, sir, I hope things get better and you get back to your blogging duty, here’s a story I think we should be paying attention to: 

DENVER – Ward Churchill’s attorney told a jury Tuesday that the University of Colorado handed the former professor over to a “howling mob” when they fired him from his tenured position in 2007.

During opening statements in the courtroom of Denver’s Chief District Judge Larry J. Naves, David Lane told the jury that the school should have defended Churchill’s rights to speak freely about the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks instead of publicly denouncing him. 

“They should have said, ‘That is what the First Amendment is about, so howling mob at the gate, we are not letting you in,'” Lane told the jury. 

“The mob is an angry group of people fueled by ignorance and directed by fear,” he continued. “And the mob sees a traitor as an enemy, as someone to be destroyed. The mob took over at the University of Colorado.” 

“They have destroyed him,” Lane said. 

Former professor Churchill sued CU after he was fired for academic misconduct in 2007. The dismissal followed a public and political uproar over an essay he wrote comparing the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center to Nazi Adolf Eichmann who engineered the destruction of the Jews. 

The rest of this story is here. You know what really bothers me about this? I don’t like Churchill’s position that much, but I think that this is still a free county and all that stuff about us being about to be killed by the terrorists during the last eight years really created some horrible changes in the public perception of the free speech, you know? Whatever this guy said or wrote, he has the right to do so, how hard is it to understand it?

Show Me The Money: Stanley Fish vs. University of Colorado.

Here’s a new blog entry from freshly-from-New-Zealand Stanley Fish. The most interesting part of the blog, however, is the comments. Let’s start from the blog entry itself – Fish ridicules the decision by the University of Colorado (Boulder) to propose to establish a Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy – a deserved ridicule, I think. But Stanley Fish is again misunderstood and most comments don’t seem to engage the blog post at all – they should have some sort of “stupid filter” there or good old fashioned moderation: 

I’ve just returned from New Zealand and find that in my absence the University of Colorado – the same one that earlier this year appointed as its president a Republican fund-raiser with a B.A. in mining and no academic experience – has gifted me again, this time with the announcement of plans to raise money for a Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy.

Why? The answer is apparently given in the first sentence of a story that appeared in the May 13th edition of the Rocky Mountain News: “The University of Colorado is considering a $9 million program to bring high-profile conservatives to teach on the left-leaning Boulder campus.”

Embedded in this sentence is the following chain of reasoning: The University of Colorado, Boulder, is left-leaning and therefore it is appropriate to spend university funds (technically state funds) in an effort to redress a political imbalance. The rest is here

The comment though are priceless – my favorite line of argument: Because university professors are poor, they “turn liberal” while in graduate school or trying to survive being a junior instructor. Continue reading