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Feb 28, 2005 1:38 am

Just So You Know ...

The Ward Churchill story only gets worse. The part that I missed during the flap over whether his art simply mirrored and, thus, violated the copyright of other artists is that University of Illinois officials cannot find a copy of his M. A. thesis and cannot say for sure whether one was required for the award of the degree. Churchill received a Bachelor's degree in 1974 and a Master's degree in 1975 from Illinois's Sangamon State University, which subsequently became the University of Illinois, Springfield. Thanks to Margaret Soltan at University Diaries for the tip.

Meanwhile, 200 faculty members at the University of Colorado have signed an ad that will appear in tomorrow's Boulder Daily Camera. It calls for an immediate end to the internal investigation into Churchill's work and relationship with the University. The investigation is expected to be complete by mid-March.

Cliopatria is the #1 site on Yahoo for"How to tell if my common lepard frog is male or female?" Sounds like a misdirected question to Hugo, but ordinarily I refer such matters to P. Z. Meyers.

More fun than watching the Oscar Awards this evening will be watching Mr. Sun live mock them. Dwight Meredith at Wampum has some predictions. In the meantime, George Bush, Halle Berry and"Fahrenheit 911" swept the Golden Raspberry Awards last night for"Worst Actor,""Worst Actress,""Worst Picture,""Worst Directing," and"Worst Screenplay."

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Louis N Proyect - 2/27/2005

Denver Post, Feb. 27, 2005
Faculty fight Churchill probe
By The Associated Press

Boulder - A full-page ad taken out by 200 University of Colorado faculty members calls for the school to drop an inquiry into the writings of professor Ward Churchill.

Gov. Bill Owens and others have called for the firing of Churchill, a tenured professor, because of his comparison of Sept. 11 victims to Nazis.

The faculty members paid for the ad to run Monday in the Boulder Daily Camera.

It says the review of the ethnic studies professor, expected to be completed by the middle of March, should be stopped immediately.

The ad says the inquiry is the result of political pressure and not based on "any prior formal complaint of specific professional or academic misconduct on his part." The 200 faculty members' statement defends Churchill's "right to speak what he believes to be the truth" based on academic freedom rules designed to prevent faculty members from being fired for unpopular views.

In the essay, written immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, Churchill appeared to sympathize with the hijackers. He wrote that some victims were not innocent because of their role in driving U.S. foreign policy.

Under pressure from Owens, the Legislature and the CU Board of Regents, the university began an investigation of Churchill.

CU's Arts & Sciences Council passed a resolution Feb. 10 protesting the investigation, and said administrators should know that faculty members are serious about their opposition to what some consider a witch hunt.

Margaret LeCompte, an education professor, said, "It is going to be extremely difficult, if academic freedom is on the block, for us to hire and keep good faculty members." LeCompte and the other teachers who signed the ad paid $1,600 to have it published.

"We're all thinking twice about what we're saying," LeCompte said, recalling the climate in the McCarthy era when professors were fired for alleged communist ties.

David Timothy Beito - 2/27/2005

One of the negative byproducts of the conservative feeding frenzy on Churchill is that it has diverted attention to defend the academic freedom of conservatives and libertarians such as Hans-Hermann Hoppe at UNLV. If anyone deserves a "freeping" it is not the president of CU but the president of UNLV.

David Timothy Beito - 2/27/2005

Same for me. At the University of Wisconsin, a thesis was not necessay to get a M.A.

Jonathan Dresner - 2/27/2005

There are plenty of perfectly good MA programs that don't require a thesis... but since his position requires research (and usually a thesis is considered evidence of ability to do research, at least in the hires I've been part of) and since tenure requires evidence of substantial research in the past and potential for the future, it seems at issue. How important it is remains in question, but it's not irrelevant.

I'm not convinced that the painting issue is as important as the Freepers do: there's a legitimate tradition in art of using other art and photographs as raw material for translation into new forms and formats. There are copyright issues, but calling it plagiarism is an overstatement of the case.

Louis N Proyect - 2/27/2005

What's the big deal about this? I got a Masters Degree in philosophy from the New School in 1967 without writing a MA thesis--none was required.

You people seem to be getting desperate. Plagiarizing paintings? Not writing a MA thesis? What's next? Charges that he cheats on his wife? Frankly, with all the odor of Cointelpro around this, I wouldn't be surprised...

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