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Ward Churchill:

The University of Colorado's report on the investigation of Ward Churchill's alleged scholarly misconduct has just been released. Here's an excerpt of the summary:

Summary of Key Points of Report of the Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct at the University of Colorado at Boulder concerning Allegations of Academic Misconduct against Professor Ward Churchill

May 16, 2006

The Committee was charged with investigating seven allegations:
Allegation A: Misrepresentation of General Allotment Act of 1887
Allegation B: Misrepresentation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990
Allegation C: Captain John Smith and smallpox in New England, 1614-1618
Allegation D: Smallpox epidemic at Fort Clark and beyond, 1837-1840
Allegation E: Plagiarism of a pamphlet by the Dam the Dams group
Allegation F: Plagiarism of Professor Rebecca Robbins
Allegation G: Plagiarism of Professor Fay G. Cohen

Based on its investigation of those allegations, the Committee unanimously found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Professor Churchill committed several forms of academic misconduct as defined in the policy statements of the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Colorado system:
1. Falsification, as discussed in Allegations A, B, C, and D.
2. Fabrication, as discussed in Allegations C and D.
3. Plagiarism, as discussed in Allegations E and G.
4. Failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications, as discussed most fully in Allegation F but also in Allegations A, B, and D.
5. Serious deviation from accepted practices in reporting results from research, as discussed in Allegation D.

The Committee did not find fabrication in the first sub-question of Allegation D or plagiarism in Allegation F....

The Committee found that Professor Churchill’s misconduct was deliberate and not a matter of an occasional careless error. The Committee found that similar patterns recurred throughout the essays it examined. The Committee therefore concluded that the degree of his misconduct was serious, but differed on the sanction warranted. The Committee’s report states as follows:

...

• Two members of the Committee conclude and recommend that Professor Churchill should not be dismissed. They reach this conclusion because they do not think his conduct so serious as to satisfy the criteria for revocation of tenure and dismissal set forth in section 5.C.1 of the Law of the Regents, because they are troubled by the circumstances under which these allegations have been made, and because they believe that his dismissal would have an adverse effect on other scholars’ ability to conduct their research with due freedom. These two members agree and recommend that the most appropriate sanction, following any required additional procedures as specified by the University’s rules, is a suspension from University employment without pay for a term of two years.

• Three members of the Committee believe that Professor Churchill’s research misconduct is so serious that it satisfies the criteria for revocation of tenure and dismissal specified in section 5.C.1 of the Laws of the Regents, and hence that revocation of tenure and dismissal, after completion of all appropriate procedures, is not an improper sanction. One of these members believes and recommends that dismissal is the most appropriate sanction; the other two believe and recommend that the most appropriate sanction is suspension from University employment without pay for a term of five years....

Voting Members of the Committee:
Chair: Marianne Wesson, Professor of Law, Wolf-Nichol Fellow, and President’s Teaching Scholar, University of Colorado at Boulder
Robert N. Clinton, Foundation Professor of Law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
José E. Limón, Director, Center for Mexican-American Studies and Mody C. Boatright Regents Professor of American and English Literature, University of Texas at Austin
Marjorie K. McIntosh, Distinguished Professor of History, University of Colorado at Boulder
Michael L. Radelet, Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder

Federal Dog:
"because they believe that his dismissal would have an adverse effect on other scholars' ability to conduct their research with due freedom"


What "due freedom" are they talking about? The "due freedom" to commit fraud and plagiarism?
5.16.2006 3:32pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
If allegations, even if sustained, come from "them", then the punishment must be mitigated in order to preserve "us".

If "we" had uttered the first challenges, then the punishment would have been swift and severe.

But "we" can't have "them" telling us what to do...
5.16.2006 3:38pm
DelVerSiSogna (mail):
If allegations, even if sustained, come from "them", then the punishment must be mitigated in order to preserve "us".

It's pretty funny that the first two comments spin this as a story about those crazy lefty university types. Umm, people, a majority of the committee concluded that dismissal from the university was an appropriate sanction, and even the other two members--those crazy lefties--recommended suspension without pay for two years. I mean, does nothing even count as punishment to the right anymore unless it involves a 25-year mandatory minimum in a federal supermax prison?
5.16.2006 3:49pm
M. Python:
I warn this programme that any recurrence of this sloppy long-haired civilian plagiarism will be dealt with most severely. Right, now on the command 'cut', the camera will cut to camera two, all right, director ... Wait for it! Camera cut.
5.16.2006 3:50pm
Gordo:
Federal Dog: Go read the report. The first page talks about the issue of timing involved - these charges were brought only after Churchill's incendiary and outrageous comments following certain events that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Dismissal of Churchill could easily be seen by some as a political vendetta. Other scholars who would publish outrageous statements such as Churchill has made would think twice about doing so, because they wouldn't want attention brought upon themselves.

I don't know that I buy this argument, but it's not completely loony as you seem to intimate.
5.16.2006 3:53pm
byrd (mail):
DelVerSiSogna: I see what you're saying, but only one of five actually recommended dismissal--the other four suspension of varying lengths.

It's hard to puzzle out the position of the first two--that revocation of tenure is not justified, but a two-year suspension is. How big a difference is there between a dismissal and a two-year suspension?
5.16.2006 3:56pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
DelVer,

What Spin? The story flatly states that two people thought revocation of tenure was inappropriate NOT on the basis of any mitigating factor or seriousness of the offense but solely on the fact that non-moonbats brought the charges and sought the investigation.

That's not spin, thems the facts.

Says the "Dog"
5.16.2006 3:56pm
frankcross (mail):
This is not such a political thing.
Tenured professors very rarely favor revoking the tenure of other professors. It's a guild thing.
5.16.2006 4:00pm
BGates (mail) (www):
It's pretty funny that leftists are still standing up for this guy. Four out of five on the panel concluded suspension was the most appropriate sanction. If repeated, intentional fabrications and plagiarism aren't enough to get the guy fired, what is? Raping a student? Voting Republican?
5.16.2006 4:05pm
DelVerSiSogna (mail):
Here's an interesting passage from the report, directly following a bit about how the Committee is troubled by the timing/motivation of the charges:

The Committee has attempted to [keep] the background and origins of this particular dispute out of our consideration of the particular allegations. To use an analogy, a motorist who is stopped and ticketed for speeding because the police officer was offended by the contents of her bumper sticker, and who otherwise would have been sent away with a warning, is still guilty of speeding, even if the officer's motive for punishing the speeder was the offense taken to the speeder's exercise of her right to free speech. No court would consider the improper motive of the police officer to constitute a defense to speeding, however protected by legal free speech guarantees the contents of the bumper sticker might be.

Discuss, in light of Wayte v. United States, 470 U.S. 598 (1985) ("the decision to prosecute may not be "'deliberately based upon an unjustifiable standard such as race, religion, or other arbitrary classification, including the exercise of protected statutory and constitutional rights.") (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
5.16.2006 4:11pm
Shangui (mail):
What Spin? The story flatly states that two people thought revocation of tenure was inappropriate NOT on the basis of any mitigating factor or seriousness of the offense but solely on the fact that non-moonbats brought the charges and sought the investigation.


Dog,

Perhaps you should read more carefully:

"They reach this conclusion because they do not think his conduct so serious as to satisfy the criteria for revocation of tenure and dismissal set forth in section 5.C.1 of the Law of the Regents, because they are troubled by the circumstances under which these allegations have been made, and because they believe that his dismissal would have an adverse effect on other scholars' ability to conduct their research with due freedom."

Reason #1 specifically states that the offense was not sufficiently serious. I completely disagree with them (as I imagine you do as well), but that's not the point. #2 has to do with the fact that these charges were brought only after is 9/11 statements. #3 would apply to writers on the right as well as the left.

Are you using the word "solely" in a special way that's completely different from its usual meaning? Ignoring the actual words of the text in question and making up your own seems to count as spin in my book.
5.16.2006 4:11pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
My comment has nothing to do with the "politics" (as in national party politics) of the matter.

It has everything to do with the "politics" of academia where you're either "U" or "non-U", "Us" or "not-Us".
5.16.2006 4:12pm
uh clem (mail):
It's pretty funny that leftists are still standing up for this guy.

Where? Who? Can you cite even a single example?

Churchill has been used as a strawman for every right wing rabble rouser for the past couple of years, but the truth of the matter is that the man is a kook and has no followers. The only reason anybody knows or cares about him is the O'Reilleys, Limbaughs, and Hewetts of the world blather about him incessantly. If he didn't exist, they would have to invent him. And now it looks like they'll need to invent somebody else.
5.16.2006 4:22pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Shangui,

I don't agree you are reading the quoted statement correctly. It clearly says they didn't think it was serious enough BECAUSE:

1. Non-moonbats brought the charges initially (who brings the charges affects whether the charges are serious. Yeah that makes sense) and

2. If they count this as serious enough and go for dismissal when non-moonbats bring the charges then other moonbat teachers might feel less inclined to lie and plaigerize (Again, yeah that makes sense).

I think I have correctly stated exactly what was written and quoted by you above. You place emphasis on the introductory statement (what you italicized) without placing emphasis on the clear explanantions (those that follow "BECAUSE") as to why the introductory statement is made at all.

Its not spin, just the facts.

Says the "Dog"
5.16.2006 4:23pm
SimonD (www):
these charges were brought only after Churchill's incendiary and outrageous comments following certain events that occurred on September 11, 2001. Dismissal of Churchill could easily be seen by some as a political vendetta. Other scholars who would publish outrageous statements such as Churchill has made would think twice about doing so, because they wouldn't want attention brought upon themselves.
Is that a bad result? That people would think twice before emulating Churchill's behavior?
5.16.2006 4:27pm
Bill N:
Gordo,
"Other scholars who would publish outrageous statements such as Churchill has made would think twice about doing so, because they wouldn't want attention brought upon themselves."

I would submit that "scholars" would have nothing to worry about. If he had had an actual record of scholarship, we would not be having this conversation. Instead, he had a record of "fabrication," "plagiarism," and "falsification." As for the Committee's concern about the "timing" of the investigation, coming as it did "in the wake of the public outcry concerning some highly controversial essays..." that's nonsense. What if the revelations that Joseph Ellis had lied about Vietnam service in class had led to an investigation that unearthed plagiarism and falsification in his scholarship. Imagine if the committee conducting the investigation had expressed such concern about the "timing" of the inquiry, coming as it did after "controversial revelations regarding his Vietnam service." Moreover, would he have been dismissed (rather than suspended), has such plagiarism been unearthed? Probably. Yet because he is a scholar, and a fine historian at that, he got a one year suspension. This investigation has no bearing on what real scholars do.
5.16.2006 4:30pm
JR WATSON (mail):
As a current law student, it's hard not to wonder what would have happened had a student commited the same offenses. I'm assuming failure of the class, at the very least. I have to write and sign an honor code on every paper, exam and assignment I turn in. An honor code violation gives me an F in the class and, if sufficiently severe, gets me kicked out of school. Not to mention a report going to the Bar that I'll have to explain should I manage to actually graduate from law school.

How much credibility does this pathetic excuse for a scholar have when he stands in front of his classes and lectures on the gravity and unacceptability of plagerism and cheating? He should be fired and should never work in academia again. He will, of course. And I have no doubt he'll become a martyr to his fellow travelers.
5.16.2006 4:32pm
Shangui (mail):
You place emphasis on the introductory statement (what you italicized) without placing emphasis on the clear explanantions (those that follow "BECAUSE") as to why the introductory statement is made at all.

Dog,

Um, no. Please note that all three reasons get a "because":

"They reach this conclusion because they do not think his conduct so serious as to satisfy the criteria for revocation of tenure and dismissal set forth in section 5.C.1 of the Law of the Regents, because they are troubled by the circumstances under which these allegations have been made, and because they believe that his dismissal would have an adverse effect on other scholars' ability to conduct their research with due freedom" (italics mine).

I originally placed emphasis on the introductory statement (i.e. the first of the three reasons given) specifically because it was the one of the three that you claimed didn't exist. To refresh your memory, you wrote: "The story flatly states that two people thought revocation of tenure was inappropriate NOT on the basis of any mitigating factor or seriousness of the offense but solely on the fact that non-moonbats brought the charges and sought the investigation" (italics mine).

This statement is objectively false. "[T]hey do not think his conduct so serious as to satisfy the criteria for revocation of tenure and dismissal set forth in section 5.C.1 of the Law of the Regents" is the first of three reasons give. As it is the first, we might assume it is given extra weight, though I'm willing to count them as equal. You may think they are lying, but that's what they actually said. All three statements have a "because."

And all that "non-moonbats" stuff is just unnecessary. Why stoop to that?
5.16.2006 4:35pm
AppSocRes (mail):
In my opinion, plagiarism is always grounds for dismissal. It is the ultimate academic crime: Like horse theft in the Old West, plagiarism is stealing not just property but livelihood. How can I teach my students the seriousness of this offence, if Churchill does not receive condign punishment.

Also it is interesting that the committee did not consider the matter of Churchill's mis-representation of himself as a minority when he applied for his current position. Surely a person with his meager credentials and limited talents would not have gotten this position without such misrepresentation. In effect, he stole the position from someone with more entitlement.
5.16.2006 4:39pm
jallgor (mail):
uh clem wrote: "the man is a kook and has no followers"
The problem is that he is a tenured professor at a large and fairly well respected university. How does that happen if he's such a kook? How did Ward Churchill get where he is? I am guessing it wasn't because he had the support of a lot of republican professors at the university. Right wing pundits should feel free to take their swings and swipes. In a liberal's world it's ok (maybe even preferable) to have someone like Ward Churchill teaching their children in college. In O'Reilly's and Hewitt's world, Churchill is standing on a street corner with a cardboard sign and some photcopied leaflets.
5.16.2006 4:48pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
One of the implied defenses for why the guy shouldn't be fired for his dishonesty is:

"People without formal training in a particular field of scholarship are able to assert just as forcefully as specialists that someone has falsified or misused evidence or has offered unwarranted interpretations. In this case, both the University administration and Professor Churchill relied at times on assertions made by "researchers" with no formal qualifications, background, or training about the topics under consideration. A recent book that discusses instances of alleged academic misconduct emphasizes that the outcomes of such accusations are heavily influenced by the extent of media/web/internet involvement.252 Another analysis stresses the power of political groups and advocacy organizations in promoting charges of scholarly wrongdoing.253 Focusing on historians, its author suggests that publications that question traditional American values may be scrutinized with particular intensity by people in the wider community. If any evidence of misconduct is found, scholars who critique accepted views are far more likely to be fired from their jobs—not just reprimanded—than are academics who support familiar interpretations." [emphasis added]

They are talking about the Bellesiles scandal, and footnote 253 cites Jon Weiner's defense of Bellesiles. I guess that I am one of the examples of "no formal qualifications, background, or training about the topics under consideration" because I only have an MA in History, which makes me a complete amateur.
5.16.2006 4:49pm
Houston Lawyer:
I find much irony in the fact that he lied about his race in order to be hired. First of all, he got away with it for a long time. Second, his race always should have been irrelevant to the decision to hire him. So he lied about an irrelevant fact that it should have been illegal to use against him anyway.

Who's the bigger fool here, him or those who hired him?
5.16.2006 4:52pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
"the man is a kook and has no followers. The only reason anybody knows or cares about him is the O'Reilleys, Limbaughs, and Hewetts of the world blather about him incessantly."

I disagree. The man had quite an extensive speaking schedule before his various frauds came to light. (Does he still? I don't know.) Why would a university spend student fee money to bring him for a speaking event if he has "no followers?" Believe me... this man is not a creation of the Right.

Oh... and while I don't think his "little Eichmanns" comment should be the basis for a harsher punishment, I also don't think it should be a mitigating circumstance. A substantial suspension may be punishment enough, but if he would otherwise be dismissed, I hope they don't let him off the hook because of his inflamatory political comments.
5.16.2006 4:53pm
Steve:
I'm sorry. Who is this person again? A towering giant of Leftist thought, you say? I never knew who I was supposed to turn to after Chairman Mao stopped issuing my marching orders, so I appreciate the pointer.

On a more serious note, people who make incendiary claims are always going to come under more scrutiny. A firebreathing conservative professor would undoubtedly be investigated by certain groups on the left, and if they found evidence of academic misconduct they'd be more than happy to press the point. As long as the charges end up getting vetted through a serious and fair process (and it certainly seems that the Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct at the University of Colorado at Boulder provides such a process), I don't know that anyone should care about why the guy was originally investigated.

This is about academic fraud, not viewpoint discrimination. Yes, if you've committed plagiarism and other types of scholarly misconduct in the past, you might want to keep a low profile. Unless someone can show that the charges are baseless, the guy should be punished just like any less-controversial fraudster would be punished.
5.16.2006 4:53pm
Silicon Valley Jim:
the man is a kook and has no followers

Well, he's spoken (and, according to the link, at a hefty fee) at DePaul



in December, and at University of Wisconsin Whitewater



in September. I've seen coverage of him at some exceedingly strange event in or near San Francisco. Sounds as if he has followers to me.
5.16.2006 4:58pm
Silicon Valley Jim:
I'm having the biggest problem getting links to post here. The DePaul appearance URL is at

http://www.erinoconnor.org/

and the UW Whitewater appearance URL is

http://www.jsonline.com/

In each case, you'll have to search further for the actual post.
5.16.2006 5:00pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Dog: Could you please stop barking about "moonbats"? I don't know if it's annoying other commenters as much as it's annoying me, but these discussions are much more likely to be productive if their tone is a little milder.

Uh Clem: Same to you, more or less. Criticizing serious misconduct by tenured professors who are pretty significant in their fields is hardly "blathering"; if you want to make substantive criticisms of the critics' criticism, please do, but please avoid argument by pejorative. Plus, on the facts, I think you're mistaken, for the reasons Daniel Chapman gave.
5.16.2006 5:11pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
EV is more impressed than I am by Mr. Chapman's reasoning:
Why would a university spend student fee money to bring him for a speaking event if he has "no followers?"
Answer: to sell tickets.

Those of you who habituate college campuses have doubtless noticed that every school year brings at least one "freak show" speaker?

Having made himself "controversial," Churchill then becomes a draw. Which makes him controversial. It's like being famous for being famous.
5.16.2006 5:17pm
Robert Schwartz (mail):
One down, one hundred thousand to go. Drain the academic swamp.
5.16.2006 5:35pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I guarantee the University of Wisconsin Whitewater brought him in at a huge loss. University speakers always are.
5.16.2006 5:37pm
Federal Dog:
"The first page talks about the issue of timing involved - these charges were brought only after Churchill's incendiary and outrageous comments following certain events that occurred on September 11, 2001."


So? His serial fraud and plagiarism had nothing to do with his public tantrums.
5.16.2006 5:44pm
poster child (mail):

The Committee is in complete agreement that it will not disclose to anyone the individual votes of its members concerning sanctions.


Heaven forbid.

On a related note, we had a professor at my law school alma mater (a few years before I matriculated) who turned out to be both a forceful advocate for criminal defendants and, in his private life, a serial (and petty) kleptomaniac. It took several incidents (the last involved some pilfered cold cuts from a local Whole Foods store) before the university could bring itself to fire him--and it was hardly a unanimous vote! Good thing the complaints about him didn't originate from conversatives; otherwise, he'd probably be returning from his suspension right about now.
5.16.2006 5:57pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
As a current law student, it's hard not to wonder what would have happened had a student commited the same offenses. I'm assuming failure of the class, at the very least. I have to write and sign an honor code on every paper, exam and assignment I turn in. An honor code violation gives me an F in the class and, if sufficiently severe, gets me kicked out of school. Not to mention a report going to the Bar that I'll have to explain should I manage to actually graduate from law school

Well, as someone who was uncovered a serious and blatant incident of plagiarism while I was in law school it depends on a number of factors such as: whether you have a professor you are especially good friends with; if your father is a partner at a big law firm; if you threaten to sue the law school for defamation; if you are at the very top of your class. If all these things are true you will probably be allowed to skate and the incident will be buried.

When I was on Law Review, the paper of the girl who was at that point seventh in our class was selected for publication in our Law Review. As I and my editing partner performed the initial edit on the paper we quickly discovered that page after page of the article had been plagiarized, and very crudely, at that. It was almost as if she didn't know what plagiarism was since she referenced the work she plagiarized from but then copied verbatim for several more pages changing an occaisional tense or pronoun here or there but without an additional cite or bothering to reference the quotes within the plagiarized source. When she was confronted with her plagiarism she claimed she didn't realize what she had done. My response to that was that if that defense was true, then she was too stupid to be in law school.

Anyway, because she was close friends with the faculty advisor to law review and the other factors mentioned above, the only punishment she suffered was that she was allowed to resign from law review (she was not officially kicked off), and that was only after some ethical members of the faculty pushed the issue and the editor of law review (and me) threatened to resign--although I think my protests, as a lowly write-on, would have gone unnoticed. Even then, at the Spring Awards Breakfast, her name still appeared on the list of Law Review members.

From that moment on, Law School was all downhill for me. My paper had also been selected for publication and I withdrew it, not out of protest, but simply because I was so disgusted with law school that I simply didn't have motivation to put the effort into getting it ready for publication.
5.16.2006 6:00pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Freder, I understand if you don't want to share this information, but I'm quite curious to find out at which law school this took place. It sounds absolutely atrocious.

Oh, and more on point, good effing riddance. I can hardly think of anyone who deserved this public humiliation and professional execution more than Churchill.
5.16.2006 6:12pm
CJColucci:
What's the controversy here? A serial plagiarist was caught, his academic career is in ruins, even with the lightest recommended punishment, and his platform for non-academic notoriety has been largely dismantled. It is only natural to notice and be concerned about how and why his professional shortcomings came to be uncovered, but those concerns didn't stop the committee from coming to a reasonable conclusion.
5.16.2006 6:15pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Freder, I understand if you don't want to share this information, but I'm quite curious to find out at which law school this took place. It sounds absolutely atrocious.

It was at Georgia State University. It was atrocious. But when I started practicing law, I discovered that many lawyers are unethical and scumbags so I guess it prepared me for real life. To this day I regret I didn't go to the head of the law school and report the incident to the University ethics department. I held onto my copy of the paper for about five years after I got out of law school in case I ever ran into that bitch or professor again.
5.16.2006 6:23pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

As I and my editing partner performed the initial edit on the paper we quickly discovered that page after page of the article had been plagiarized, and very crudely, at that.
This reminds me of an incident at a college where my wife used to teach. (No names, obviously.) She and I would work together on finding plagiarism, sometimes by hand, and sometimes using a very cool program that searched the web for matches. Anyway, one of these papers that a student handed in was plagiarized--everything except the very crudely written first and last paragraphs of a several page paper.

Okay, no surprise--but the really weird part was that where we found it was a high school teacher complaining that a student had just handed in a plagiarized paper--and then he quoted the plagarized paper, in its entirety.
5.16.2006 6:24pm
Die for the Elite (mail):
Plagiarism, misrepresentation, falsification, and fabrication?

Are we talking WMDs, Iraq, yellowcake, Powell's presentation to the UN, and the Office of Special Plans?

How many US and Iraqi deaths resulted from Churchill's alleged plagiarism, misrepresentation, falsification, and fabrication? I think we're investigating the wrong suspect here.
5.16.2006 6:54pm
BGates (mail) (www):
Uh Clem -

I should have been more clear. I didn't mean to suggest that all leftists support this loon. I was speaking specifically of the committee that decided firing was not an appropriate response (here I'm going out on a short limb to assume that the ethnic studies guy, sociology chair, &c are leftists).

I find it ironic that you suggest the right needed to invent Ward Churchill, since Mr. Churchill's problems resulted from the fact that he invented himself.
5.16.2006 6:58pm
Houston Lawyer:
Freder

A good friend of mine also had this happen to her in law school. She caught her roommate using one of her papers as if the roommate had written it. Her roommate was connected and was represented by one of the largest firms in town. This firm made my friend's life very miserable for a long time. Pursuing a valid complaint can be very costly to the complaining party.
5.16.2006 7:02pm
uh clem (mail):
Eugene,

Please do not think that I'm taking you to task for addressing the Churchill case here. It is entirely appropriate for your blog to address his case, concerned as it is with academia, first ammendment rights, tenure, etc. After all, that's your beat, isn't it? In particular, I am not accusing you of "blathering" - if you read it that way, please accept my appologies.

My comment was directed at BGates who made the blanket statemet that "leftists were still standing up for the guy". That is a mischaracterization of the overall mindset of American left. Again, I am not accusing you of mischaracterization here but BGates.

As far as the scope of his importance and influence, we'll just have to agree to disagree. Suffice it to say that a person can be well known in academia and still be fairly irrelevant in the greater scheme of things. Present company excepted, of course.

And as for argument by pejorative, I stand by my statement that Churchill is a kook.
5.16.2006 7:06pm
uh clem (mail):
I should have been more clear. I didn't mean to suggest that all leftists support this loon.

Clarification cheerfully accepted.
5.16.2006 7:14pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Plagiarism tales: in grad school, I took a course where we exchanged and critiqued term papers. My critique didn't get beyond observing that only 2 sentences of a 15-page paper (may've been longer, I forget) were *not* plagiarized. To the best of my knowledge.

As in Freder's case, the student had cited to the works she copied out of. Plus, this was the required Bibliography class in an English grad program (= of *course* someone is going to be checking up on you). Plus, it was in the nature of the assignment that a student would be checking it.

The professor thanked me and noted that he might not have caught the student had she simply turned the paper in to him. Which is something to think about.

(None too cleverly, the school didn't expel her then; they waited a couple of semesters, by which time she was meeting approximately 1/3 of the freshman-comp sections she was supposed to teach. A lovely indication of where the English department's priorities were.)
5.16.2006 7:25pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
I'm a leftist and I have no patience for plagiarists. I think Ward Churchill is a kook but noone would have paid the least bit of attention to him if Fox News and their related minions hadn't made him a cause celebre.
5.16.2006 7:26pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Shangui,

I don't agree you've got the construction right in analyzing the sentence.

You analyze it as:

Because:
1.

Because:
2.

Because:
3.

Where all points are separate and unrelated (or at the same level as outline items). However, it seems to me that the 2nd and third "Because" indicate that 2 is a subpart and real reason for the the reason stated in 1. and that the third subpart is also either a subpart to 1 or a subpart to 2.

In other words I think the successive becauses require this reading:

Because:
1.
Because:
2.
Because:
3.

or possibly

Because:
1.
Because:
2.
Because:
3.

Certainly the second and third instances of "because" give reasons/explanations for the initial statement contained in the 1st "because". I don't see how it would be proper to read them as independent and unrelated.

As for the moonbat stuff. I find such language "fun" or providing "color" in an informal setting like this and refreshing break from regular lawyering which is so formal most of the time.

Apparently I am the only one who feels this way, and more importantly EV doesn't feel this way, so I guess this is my last moonbat for a while.

Says the "Dog"
5.16.2006 7:37pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
errrgggg,

I see my message above got reformated during the post stage and became not clear. Let me try to make this work:

You analyze it as:

Because:
1.

Because:
2.

Because:
3.

Where all points are separate and unrelated (or at the same level as outline items). However, it seems to me that the 2nd and third "Because" indicate that 2 is a subpart and real reason for the the reason stated in 1. and that the third subpart is also either a subpart to 1 or a subpart to 2.

In other words I think the successive becauses require this reading:

Because:
1.
. Because:
. 2.
. Because:
. 3.

or possibly

Because:
1.
. Because:
. 2.
. Because:
. 3.

Says the "Dog"
5.16.2006 7:41pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Plagiarism, misrepresentation, falsification, and fabrication?

Are we talking WMDs, Iraq, yellowcake, Powell's presentation to the UN, and the Office of Special Plans?
You've proved BGates' point about leftist support for Ward Churchill, hoping that you can distract attention from his lies by talking about Iraq.

Of course, where your little attempt fails is that you can't prove that Bush lied. You can make an argument that because Hussein had made and used WMDs before--and was apparently intentionally deceiving his own generals about those WMDs--that Bush erred in believing the intelligence reports that indicated that Hussein was still in possession of such weapons. Error is not fraud, however.

Yellowcake? Try again. We now have clear evidence that the yellowcake story was correct. Joseph Wilson lied.
5.16.2006 7:42pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Dog, my friend, quit while you're behind.
They reach this conclusion because they do not think his conduct so serious as to satisfy the criteria for revocation of tenure and dismissal set forth in section 5.C.1 of the Law of the Regents, because they are troubled by the circumstances under which these allegations have been made, and because they believe that his dismissal would have an adverse effect on other scholars' ability to conduct their research with due freedom.
Of which you say:
Certainly the second and third instances of "because" give reasons/explanations for the initial statement contained in the 1st "because".
A classic example of "certainly" as a code for "only in my head," familiar to brief-readers everywhere. There is *nothing* in the grammar or syntax of that sentence to suggest any dependence of any one "because" clause on another. Indeed, the first clause alone is dispositive; if it ain't serious enough for removal, then it just ain't. There is no hint of the 2d and 3d being "reasons or indications."

Your best argument would be that, if the first reason was sufficient, then why add the 2d and 3d? But that is reaching. I wouldn't try that out even in front of a J.P. Whatever the members' *real* motives, their statement doesn't say what you think it does.
5.16.2006 7:47pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
OK Andersen and Shangui,

You've convinced me I could be wrong on the intent of the writer. I could be right also.

I think the successive uses of "because" is inherently unclear, and if the reading you both suggest is what was intended it would have been far better to write "because: 1; 2; and 3".

Says the "Dog"
5.16.2006 8:03pm
dick thompson (mail):
I would think that any school that had ethical standards would be appreciative of finding that their tenured professors were guilty of plagiarism, fabrication of facts and falsification. It also seems to me that any of the 3 would be enough to justify suspension while a combination of all 3 would be enough to cancel tenure and firing the man. Anything less is most definitely giving the new students the wrong idea of what the ethical behavior of academics should be.

As to whether he has any support, he was at the schools listed above. He was also at NYU and was slated to be at Hamilton College until there was so much yelling by some of the other professors that that one got cancelled. If you look at the Pirate Ballerina website, he is quoted from a speech he just gave in Oregon and he is slated to appear again in Oregon in a couple of days. Whether he is getting these contracts because he is controversial or not, the man is not hurting for pocket change. Personally I think what he has done is so unethical as I understand the supposed ethical standards of universities that he should be fired right now.

I note that his wife has already resigned her position as professor at CU. I wonder whether that was under duress or if she decided on her own.
5.16.2006 8:29pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Did we just get a really just get someone favorably quoting the "little Eichmanns" speech? Wow. Just... wow.

I wonder if Orin Kerr has the right idea of allowing comments by invitation only...
5.16.2006 8:43pm
Die for the Elite (mail):
I would think that any government that had ethical standards would be appreciative of finding that their allegedly elected officials were guilty of plagiarism, fabrication of facts and falsification. It also seems to me that any of the 3 would be enough to justify censure while a combination of all 3 would be enough to impeach the man. Anything less is most definitely giving Americans the wrong idea of what the ethical behavior of politicians should be.
5.16.2006 8:47pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Die for the Elite: You're banned. Please violate Godwin's Law elsewhere. (I haven't banned all Godwin's Law violators, but this is such an egregious case -- mixing the violation and personal insult -- that I have no interest in seeing Mr. Elite hang out on our blog any more.)
5.16.2006 8:55pm
Ernest Brown (mail):
Freder,

Ironically enough, Churchill's wife is teaching at GSU full-time now, after her resignation from UCB.
5.16.2006 9:08pm
BGates (mail) (www):
Mr. Elite (can I call you Die?):
I agree that it would be a miscarriage of justice if Mr. Churchill were found responsible for causing anyone's death in Iraq. However, he did in fact mislead people about the use of biological weapons (see Allegation D, 'Smallpox epidemic at Fort Clark and beyond, 1837-1840').

Uh clem: You asked me to find one; here he is.
5.16.2006 9:12pm
JR WATSON (mail):
Insofar as Mr Cramer and Mr Lindgren were instrumental in bringing Mr. Bellesiles low, could we have an update from either on how his fraud has changed his career? It seems that Churchill is in the same boat. It would be interesting to know what the possible long-term consequences of being caught dead-to-rights are. I'm not very familiar with the Churchill case, but I hung on every word of the dismantling that Bellesiles recieved at the hands of Mr. Cramer and Mr. Lindgren. Surely you don't come back from that...
5.17.2006 2:12am
RGS (mail):
But, Mr. Watson, Mr. Bellesiles HAS come back from the academic dead, after a fashion. I believe Oxford University Press has published his latest book. I will be interested to see if they did a better job of fact-checking than Knopf did. My opinion of the Oxford University Prress is rapidly dwindling, though it isn't quite down there with Soft Skull Press, the folks who promised us a new edition _Arming America_.

I would hope the University of Colorado fires Churchill, but I am not optimistic. Judging from the comments on other blogs, a lot of academics cannot understand the distinction between Churchill's free speech, which is protected, and Churchill's academic misconduct, which is not protected.

RGS
5.17.2006 10:41am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

But, Mr. Watson, Mr. Bellesiles HAS come back from the academic dead, after a fashion. I believe Oxford University Press has published his latest book. I will be interested to see if they did a better job of fact-checking than Knopf did. My opinion of the Oxford University Prress is rapidly dwindling, though it isn't quite down there with Soft Skull Press, the folks who promised us a new edition _Arming America_.
The last that I heard, Bellesiles was teaching at a university in Britain--although apparently, his name was not to appear on their website, to avoid unpleasantness. And indeed, Oxford University Press was publishing a book by him--after he "resigned" from Emory, and his Bancroft Prize was revoked.

I, on the other hand, soon discovered that there were consequences to exposing a fraud. The list of university presses that were not interested in my book about gun ownership in early America was impressive--and some of the excuses were truly amazing.

Fortunately, Nelson Current is going to be publishing Armed America (a little unclear whether this year or next), and while it doesn't have the academic respectability of a university press, there's at least a big wad of money that I am getting for it.

But it is certainly the case that exposing Bellesiles turned me from someone that could get published in scholarly journals (sometimes) into a non-person. Big chunks of the history profession still think of Bellesiles as a victim of right-wing bullying--not a fraud whose lies were so blatant and badly done that I find myself wondering if he intentionally did himself in.
5.17.2006 12:46pm
abb3w:
I'm seeing a lot of sound and fury here, and not a lot signified. As I read it:

One thinks that the answer is dismissal; two more think dismissal might be appropriate, but prefer a 5 year suspension without pay. Two thought what he did wasn't quite enough to justify dismissal, but do think two year suspension without pay is appropriate; they also sound worried that if there is a dismissal, it will be percieved as a political response, rather than a response to academic fraud, and may discourage free debate. IE, spark controversy, expect scrutiny.

Were I given the final say, I'd want to handle that concern by having the same document to expressly state what academic response if any was necessary for Churchill's expressed political views (something on the lines of "none for anything he's said thus far") as expressly states what response was necessary for Churchill's academic fraud (2yr/5yr/permanent boot).

Another semi-related thought wanders through my mind. Ward Churchill seems way out of the mainstream for American politics, and presumably for academic conduct (or at least I hope sock puppets aren't routine). Could there be a correlation with highly non-normative political views (in either direction) and unwillingness to be constrained by accepted normative academic conduct guidelines? In short: if they sound like a total political kook, could closer scrutiny of their work be appropriate?
5.17.2006 1:19pm
Ward Churchill Responds to Investigation Travesty (mail):
I have received the report of the Investigative Committee of the University of Colorado and consider it a travesty. This "investigation" has all along been a pretext to punish me for engaging constitutionally-protected speech and, more generally, to discredit the sorts of alternative historical perspective I represent.

There is blatant conflict of interest involved. Interim Chancellor DiStefano, who has consistently and publicly declared his bias against me, has served from the outset as both "complainant" and judge.

Despite my repeated requests for an investigation conducted by unbiased experts, the committee was composed primarily of CU insiders. Although both were available and willing to serve, the investigative panel included neither American Indian scholars nor persons competent in American Indian Studies.

To all appearances the committee was composed with an eye toward precluding the involvement of individuals knowledgeable in my discipline, as well as the context of indigenous history and belief that I have quite consistently brought to bear in my scholarship.

As a result, it was necessary to devote much of the 120-day investigative period, not to examining "the facts" at issue in my case, but to acquainting the committee with some of the most rudimentary procedures employed in American Indian Studies. Had qualified individuals been included on the panel, this preemption of my ability to respond to substantive matters would not have occurred.

Although the rules allow for extensions of the "deadline" for reporting, and despite the fact that I repeatedly requested an additional 30 days in which to formulate adequate responses to the highly complex and steadily-changing questions posed by the committee, the committee declined to allow any extension whatsoever.

The upshot is that the committee's report is often self-contradictory. It frequently misrepresents or conflicts with the evidence presented. In many respects, it is patently false.

As things stand, the entire procedure appears to be little more than a carefully-orchestrated effort to cast an aura of legitimacy over an entirely illegitimate set of predetermined outcomes.

It follows that I reject and will vigorously contest each and every finding of misconduct.
5.18.2006 1:12am
JR WATSON (mail):
Do you "contest" them or flat out deny them. Is it your position that you did nothing wrong whatsoever? I'm just asking. Given the ad hominem nature of your response (accusing the committee of an ad hominem attack), we are all to understand that you'll be openly and publicly refuting, with hard evidence, everything? Your work is completely ethically flawless? You bear a great burden, good luck with that...
5.18.2006 2:23am
JR WATSON (mail):
Does this strike anyone else as a form statement that was probably dispatched to all the major political blogs? I love you, Professor Volokh, but I can't imagine Ward Churchill checking in and taking the time to respond in a comment thread at the VC. I smell a research assistant staying up late getting the word out.
5.18.2006 2:29am