By Mike Rosen
"As a teacher, your responsibility is to challenge dogma and
orthodoxy, not to just accept it." Really? Says who?
In this case, it's remorseless left-wing terrorist Bill Ayers. The
co- founder of the murderous Weather Underground was in Boulder last
week at a rally to defend his soulmate, Ward Churchill, in advance of
Churchill's court date to overturn his firing from the University of Colorado.
It should be recalled that Churchill wasn't fired for challenging
dogma, nor was he fired for his defamatory ravings against this
country and the victims of 9/11. He was fired for academic fraud
after an 8-1 vote by the University of Colorado regents, following a
thorough investigation by his peers two dozen faculty members
serving on three separate committees judged that he was guilty and
should be held accountable for "repeated and deliberate" plagiarism,
fabricated research, willful misstatement of facts, and violations of
"bedrock principles of scholarship."
Ayers' notion of the role of a teacher is a self-serving
rationalization. As left-wing revolutionaries, Ayers, Churchill and
activists of their ilk only selectively challenge the "orthodoxies"
they oppose. Can you imagine Ayers challenging the orthodoxy of
socialism? Or the students who cheered Churchill, defending the
academic freedom of an embattled conservative professor?
Churchill's lawyer, David Lane, has forsaken any hope of winning his
case by defending Churchill's indefensible scholarship. Instead, he
will seek to occupy the high ground of "academic freedom," arguing
that his client was really fired for his public statements which,
outrageous as they may be, are protected as free speech.
Personally, I've never believed that the principle of academic
freedom is absolute, that it automatically makes any tenured
instructor bulletproof for everything he or she might say or advocate
in or out of the classroom. What would be the fate of an astronomy
instructor who routinely insisted to his students that the world is
flat? Or a women's studies professor who preached that women should
be kept barefoot and pregnant?
In fact, there's case law supporting the disciplining of tenured
faculty members for things they've said. It might have been
interesting to see this tested again in court if Churchill had
actually been fired by CU for his public statements. But he wasn't!
In making his specious academic-freedom argument, Lane will claim
that Churchill's inflammatory speech was what drew attention to him.
Yeah. So what? Should inflammatory speech serve as an impervious
cloak of protection for fraudulent academics?
Suppose the police stop a motorist who's driving, not illegally but
erratically, then discover he's stolen the car. Should he be immune
from prosecution because of the way he was detected? Churchill's
faulty scholarship and false claims of Indian identity had been
called into question by academics and others in the past without
serious consequence. It's a shame that CU hired and promoted him
under questionable pretenses and hadn't followed up on these
complaints earlier. But that's no reason for granting him immunity.
Grasping at the only straw he has, Lane will doggedly cling to his
academic-freedom defense and hope to con the jury into believing that
academic fraud was merely a pretext for firing Churchill. For the
jury to buy this lame argument they'd need to be able to read the
minds of CU administrators and faculty who investigated and condemned
Churchill's scholarship, and conclude that all these people are lying
about their real motive.
Lane will be hard pressed to produce any credible evidence to support this.
E-mail Mike Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org.