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Mar 25, 2005 5:37 am


Churchill Report ...



The University of Colorado has released its preliminary findings in the internal review of Ward Churchill. Here is a summary of its findings."Bottom line: Ward Churchill will not be fired for his 9/11 comments, but will be investigated for issues concerning his research. He will not be investigated on issues concerning his teaching. He will be investigated for issues concerning his Indian ethnicity, because he portrayed that ethnicity as being integral to his scholarly research." That seems right to me. The full report is here. Thanks to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit for the tip.
Update: Victor Davis Hanson strips away"The Seven Faces of ‘Dr.' Churchill" at National Review. Like Hanson's work or not, it never bores. On the other hand, Chris Bray at Histori-blogography points out that the charges of professional misconduct against Churchill were brought by other academics. That is hardly evidence of an academic mono-culture. I've had a chance to read the full report and urge others to do the same. It strikes me as just the kind of careful weighing of evidence that one would hope for in a case like this.
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Sherman Jay Dorn - 3/25/2005

There's one other reassurance here: the complete investigation will be done by an existing committee with existing procedures. In the Bellesiles case, Emory hired an outside panel, but if I recall correctly the Emory administration gave the outsiders a very narrow set of questions, so in essence that committee was an expert set of fact-finders. That's very unusual, on the whole, and I'm not sure it's practical in the investigation of most allegations of fraud. Universities receiving federal research funds now have to have a standing committee on research misconduct, and I'm not sure whether the Emory hiring of consultants was part of its process or an ad hoc maneuver. In any case, the standing-committee approach is viable and exists in many places.

What doesn't exist -- and I'm still not sure how this could be set up appropriately -- is how to handle serious allegations of misconduct in teaching without the problems of ad hoc investigations. KC Johnson sees the Columbia investigation of MEALAC as a problem because of conflicts of interest, but I think his concerns are a reflection of the fact that it's ad hoc. One of the events described in Kors and Silvergate's book was another ad hoc investigation at the University of Pennsylvania, this time one that ended up in mandatory sensitivity training for an adjunct, if I recall correctly. In most places, if it comes under the jurisdiction of an Equal Opportunity Affairs office, the investigation by people who have no connection with university teaching can get seriously wonky (a technical legal term for "higgeldy-piggle"), and it lets faculty evade responsibility for policing ourselves.


Louis N Proyect - 3/25/2005

Rhonda Kelly denounces the preface as "inaccurate and defaming" because, in her view, the preface incorrectly describes Leah's upbringing on and near a Canadian Ojibway reserve. Further, she says Churchill misrepresents Ojibway society as matrilineal when in fact it is patrilineal.

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