At long last, Ward Churchill is on his way to the unemployment office (I wish–I’m sure that some wacko college is just slavering to pick him up, if he can just burnish his native American creds).
I wish that reporters would call his lawyers on this kind of nonsense, though:
“We’re going to a real court because we can trust juries to do the right thing,” said Churchill’s attorney David Lane. “Churchill says this all completely bogus. Let’s see if a jury and a Federal District Court agrees with the committee. Or see if everything that’s happened here is retaliation for Ward Churchill’s First Amendment free speech relating to 9/11.”
…When his essay was brought to light in January 2005, Gov. Bill Owens, state lawmakers and relatives of Sept. 11, 2001 victims in New York immediately denounced it. University officials concluded Churchill could not be fired for the essay, but in March 2005 they launched an investigation into allegations of plagiarism and other research misconduct.
“A committee last year began to look at his writings including his essay on 9/11,” said DiStefano. “We determined his writings were protected under the First Amendment. However, during that process there were allegations of research misconduct.”
Instead of wrapping himself in a flag, Chuch has wrapped himself in the First Amendment, and thus despoiled it. And unfortunately, the university has aided and abetted this misconception.
There are no First Amendment issues at stake here, at all. Churchill has the right to say whatever he wants, but the First Amendment does not grant him the right to remain a university professor (any more than it protects the New York Times from prosecution for violating the law regarding disclosure of secrets, should Alberto Gonzales grow a pair and decide to prosecute Bill Keller and company).
Contra the findings of the university committee, Churchill has no “First Amendment right” to say whatever he wants and suffer no repercussions. If they wanted to fire him for his “little Eichmanns” statement, they’d be perfectly within their constitutional rights to do so. The only thing preventing it is his contract that goes along with tenure.
Fortunately, while that contract does in fact allow him to say the vile things he chooses to say, it doesn’t extend so far as to protect him against his repeated and egregious acts of academic fraud. I hope that this case does go to trial, so that both he and his attorney can waste their time and money in fighting a pointless case, in futile support of a truly disgusting human being.