Monday, March 28, 2005

Yep, the fix is in for Ward Churchill.

Politics: I was trying to figure out how they would whitewash it and they came up with a ballsy solution, just stack the deck.

"At least three University of Colorado professors who are set to judge whether Ward Churchill plagiarized or committed academic dishonesty have either signed petitions or made public statements questioning the case against him. Joseph Rosse, director of the office of research integrity and a member of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct that will now consider the Churchill case, said he did not think the positions taken over the past two months by his colleagues amount to a conflict of interest. There is a distinction, Rosse said, between supporting Churchill's freedom of speech and deciding whether he stole or misrepresented other people's work. But state Rep. Ted Harvey, a Highlands Ranch Republican who has been critical of CU's handling of the Churchill case, said the professors' previous statements or support show a major flaw in the process. "....Steven Guberman, associate professor in education, was one of nearly 200 Boulder faculty members who signed a petition last month defending Churchill's right to speak and protesting the preliminary investigation that ended Thursday. The faculty then took out an ad in a local newspaper with the faculty names. Guberman said he will not recuse himself because he believes he can be independent in judging Churchill's work. "They are two separate issues," said Guberman, who was appointed two weeks ago to the misconduct committee. "One is about freedom of speech. The other is about research misconduct." Two other committee members, law professor Richard Collins and physics professor Uriel Nauenberg, were quoted in articles about Churchill. Collins, reacting to questions about the likelihood of firing Churchill, said it would be tough to demonstrate that Churchill's work is so inaccurate that he is an unfit professor. Nauenberg said Churchill's Sept. 11 essay was obnoxious but that he shouldn't be forced out because of it. "If he had just been a little more thoughtful, nothing would have happened," Nauenberg told The New York Times. Collins recently told the CU faculty newspaper that the university would have to prove that Churchill was unfit for his job. For comparison, Collins said it would take evidence comparable to the hypothetical case of a math professor who repeatedly declared two plus two equals five. "It's tough to sack him," Collins said. Neither Collins nor Nauenberg could be reached for comment Friday, but Rosse said any possible conflicts of interest will be discussed at the first meeting of the committee. "I don't necessarily see a conflict of interest," Rosse said. "We believe our real asset is our credibility. I hope no one perceives a conflict."

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