Ward Churchill Background
As I mentioned recently, Ward Churchill v. University of Colorado went before the Colorado Supreme Court last week. In a stroke of great timing, the AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom has published two pieces germane to the case.
The first is the “Report on the Termination of Ward Churchill” by the Colorado Conference of the AAUP, which, as expected, vindicates Churchill of all the plagiarism horseshit trumped up by UCB administration.
The second is a piece by Ward Churchill himself, entitled “In Response to Ellen Schrecker’s ‘Ward Churchill at the Dalton Trumbo Fountain’”. It’s specifically a response to a really bizarre piece by Ellen Schrecker that appeared in the same journal in 2010, but also stands as a pretty good summary of the problems with the UCB’s process, and a breakdown of the trial which is now up for appeal at the Colorado Supreme Court.
Because, lest we forget, Ward Churchill won that trial. As he writes:
Any lingering doubts that the charges lodged against me by the UCB administration were pretextual, or that the investigative committee’s findings were fraudulent, should have been dispelled by the verdict obtaining from the 2009 trial of the First Amendment and wrongful termination lawsuit I filed against the University of Colorado Board of Regents (in its official capacity) the morning after my firing. As Schrecker observed in this regard, the jurors were unanimous in concluding that I’d been fired illegally, in retaliation for my constitutionally protected expression of political views. As she also observed, the jury split regarding the amount I should be awarded in compensation for damages sustained as a result of the university’s unlawful actions, with five of the six jurors voting to bestow a “generous financial settlement,” and the sixth refusing for ideological reasons to award me anything at all. Rather than end with a hung jury because of an issue I’d told them was of no particular concern to me, the five compromised by awarding me $1.
So far, so good, but the verdict addressed four questions, not two. Schrecker, in common with the university’s public relations personnel and the Denver-area media, offered no hint that this was so, or that the jury found unanimously in my favor regarding both of the other issues. The first, that I did in fact suffer tangible damages as a result of the university’s illegal course of conduct, is in obvious ways implicit to the discussion of compensation, so they can perhaps be forgiven for not having bothered to point it out. The same does not pertain to the second, however, given that it consisted of the jury’s determination that the university had failed to show any legitimate grounds for my firing.