The Ward Churchill Verdict

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Ward Churchill committed multiple, “deliberate” acts of academic misconduct, according to a review by a faculty panel, released today by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

While the panel was unanimous in its findings about Churchill’s conduct, it was divided about whether he should lose his tenured position as professor — as politicians and many others have been demanding for more than a year. Three of the panel’s five members believe that the violations of academic standards are severe enough to make dismissal “not an inappropriate sanction.” But only one of those three members believes that dismissal is the “most appropriate sanction.” Two others favor suspension without pay for five years.

Two other members of the panel said that they did not believe that the violations were serious enough to merit dismissal. They recommend a suspension of two years without pay and say that they fear dismissal would “have an adverse effect on other scholars’ ability to conduct their research with due freedom.”

Among the violations that the committee found Churchill had committed were falsification, fabrication, plagiarism, failure to comply with established standard regarding author names on publications, and a “serious deviation from accepted practices in reporting results from research.” The committee also found that Churchill “was disrespectful of Indian oral traditions” in his writings about an 1837 smallpox epidemic.

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Edson T. Strobridge - 5/18/2006

Only in academia! What does one have to do to lose tenure or, heavens forbid, get fired from a tenured position, kill someone?

Vernon Clayson - 5/17/2006

What difference does it make, the school administration, faculty, staff and students have known of his shortcomings for several years and he is still there and in demand. Whether he is fired or given a suspension he will land at some other university and be honored and esteemed. Perhaps he will write a book about his experience as a Native American, something like John Howard Griffin's 1960s Black Like Me. It will go to the top of the NYTimes bestseller list.