We were pleased to learn this week that a Colorado judge has upheld the dismissal by the University of Colorado of the notorious Ward Churchill, who had been a tenured professor of ethnic studies there. The university has maintained that Churchill’s scholarship was faulty, but Churchill had filed a wrongful termination suit claiming that he had been dismissed because of his political views – and a jury had agreed with him.
Actually, his political views – at least as expressed – were pretty vile, and no doubt contributed to his becoming professor non grata.
Readers may recall “On the Justice of Rooting Chickens,” Churchill’s widely circulated, nauseating essay about 9/11. Contending that those who were killed in the World Trade Center attacks should not be considered “innocent victims,” he wrote, “True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire – the ‘mighty engine of profit’ to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowinglyâ€¦. [T]hey were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.”
None of those “little Eichmanns” was the architect of a holocaust. Many were secretaries and janitors and tourists out to see New York, as well as 700 of our friends and neighbors from this state alone. The comparison is odious, and so is the man.
We do support the exercise of free speech, even when it is distasteful. But thankfully, there was enough evidence of his academic miscreance that the “free speech defense” was insufficient to get him reinstated. More lawsuits may be on the horizon.