The disturbing case of Ward Churchill has me asking a question I ought not ask, but somehow feel compelled. The NCAA has an arcane, complicated, often brainless set of rules regarding recruitment and pampering of college athletes. The rules require major universities to hire folks just to deal with compliance. I hate bureaucracies like that.
But the system effectively reduces the ability of a college to buy great sports teams. Moreover, the system demands that members require minimum (though way too minimal) education standards for student athletes. This levels the playing field for both inter-collegiate athletics and intramural education. A student in a college on academic merit does not have to share pride in an alma mater with a dunce linebacker who cannot read the diploma hes handed after
four five six years. Or, so the theory goes.
Were such an organization around to police university hiring and tenure policies, Ward Churchill would be teaching graphic art at Red Rocks Community College and the world would have been spared his damaging lies.
How damaging? Very, if youre a young American Indian girl who found in Churchill truth. To me she wrote:
After I listen[ed] to Ward Churchill once, I realized [sic] that his words are true. He may not be a native American, but he has the passion for native culture, and above all his he has facts. Cold, hard facts. Native Youth need a voice, someone to look up too. Someone who has the evidence to prove that we can make a diference[sic] and change what we deal with everyday in Indian country, and for a man with a voice(dosen’t [sic] matter the damn color of his skin) who sees the realities of the culture and life to speak up is a sense of knowing.
My immediate reaction was to ask the girl why Mr. Churchill, with his post-graduate degree, has failed to teach her about spelling, grammar, and run-on sentences. But that would be rude and counterproductive.
I respect your words, but I encourage you to validate what you’re saying about [Churchills] facts. Mr. Churchill’s 3 major academic papers have been proven factually incorrect. Many parts were simply made up. (look around http://www.pirateballerina.com) .Besides lying about his heritage, Mr. Churchill has lied about his military service, his educational background, and his career opportunities for personal gain. Further, he has repeatedly encouraged terrorism (http://www.michellemalkin.com)Eventually, the evidence will convince you. No one will call you stupid if you explore the facts. But, for now, the facts simply don’t bear out your allegiance to Mr. Churchill.
Among Churchills facts, Im sure this girl believes that the U.S. Army intentionally spread small pox among the Mandans in 1837, that the General Allotment Act requires one be one-half or more degree Indian blood, and that the only way to get justice for American Indians is to get me a shotgun and kill all the whities I see.
I must ask the writer this: How have any of Ward Churchills words or actions helped you? You cannot spell the simplest of words, you cannot write a simple paragraph without butchered grammar, and you cannot parse historical reality from leftist propaganda. Wouldnt Churchill have helped you more by passing along his knowledge of writing?
Instead, he has given you a rage. He has convinced you that your lot in life is even worse than it actually is. Contrary to your claim of providing hope, Churchill provides nothing but misery by convincing you its you against the world, and the world has a huge head start.
In all of this, the largest share of guilt lies with Ward Churchill himself. He told the lies upon which the fable of his life is built. But the University of Colorado, with an assist from Alfred State University in New York, gave his lies credence. They did so in a typically failed attempt at achieving artificial diversity through promoting unaccomplished and fraudulent minorities to powerful positions within the school.
The history of Churchills ascent points to a single factor in his chair and tenure: CU thought he was an Indian. In its zeal to boast of a rabid American Indian advocate in a chair, the university ignored Churchills criminal assaults, his failed academic papers, his intellectual property theft, his self-plagiarism, his ethnic frauds. The University of Colorado elevated fraud to a safe position from whence it cannot legally fall.
Were Colorados football team to achieve high ranking through such degrees of fraud, the NCAA sanctions would result in loss of most or all scholarships, forfeiture of at least one full season, denial of television revenue for at least two seasons, and prohibition from bowl play for up to five seasons. Yet academic fraud, encouraged and rewarded, earns CU nothing but a black eye that will soon heal. Clearly, major universities in America consider honesty and forthrightness and merit among athletes morally superior to the same among professors.
Again, I understand and acknowledge the NCAAs flaws. Many of its rules are silly, and many rules are enforced with too much vigor. Still, such an organization, voluntarily joined, to police the academic policies of major research universities and their faculties would ensure that abrogation of responsibility such as witnessed at University of Colorado would earn real, financial punishments. In this case, I would advocate for denial of any federal or state funding for a period of two years. That would include research grants and fellowships.
Only by such public, painful, and expensive punishment will universities come to understand their decisions impact lives. How can we measure my e-mail correspondents pain when she finally realizes that Ward Churchill is a fraud? How can we measure the hatred Churchill encouraged by making up a story of genocide? How can we restore that piece of American history that Ward Churchill stole with the complicity of his University of Colorado managers?
The answer, as usual, is money. While Churchills lies supported his twisted, fantasy ideas, they directly benefited him financially. Lying about his heritage qualified him to run an ethnic studies department and to publish books about being a Native American. Passing off others art work as his own put instant dollars into his pocket. Likewise, the University of Colorado gained financially by having his name on its faculty list.
The University of Colorado and Ward Churchill perpetrated a great fraud upon the United States, the University of Colorado students and alumni, the victims of September 11, and, most shamefully, the American Indians Churchill pretended to represent. While an organization for academic standards and Draconian fines against the school may not undo that damage, they will send a message to all major universities that promoting and tolerating academic fraud will cost the school dearly.
Steven Taylor explores more on Affirmative Action and Ward Churchill
An editorial on The New Criterion says it ain’t Churchill’s fault. Money quote:
The silver lining in the sordid affair of Ward Churchill will be fully revealed when attention shifts from Churchill to the Kirkland Project, and from the Kirkland Project to the repudiation of liberal learning, academic standards, and moral probity that informs so much of what infects cultural life, especially academic cultural life, today.
Ace of Spaces HQ updates on the Assault and Extortion stories.
UPDATE: Blogger News Network reports CU ready to fire Churchill.
UPDATE: Check out http://jefeandtheman.blogspot.com/2005/02/ncaa-for-professors.html and the Beltway Traffic Jam
My special thanks to Jim Paine at PirateBallerina for providing the best Churchill round-up on the web and for excellent editing and tips.