The University of Colorado, with its right wing president, is set to fire Ward Churchill. It is time to stand up for free speech in the academy, and to stop the witch hunt against left wing professors.
Read the following article from Common Dreams, and my letter to Patricia Hayes, Chair of the Board of Regents. Then send your own letter.
On Tuesday, July 24, the University of Colorado Board of Regents will decide whether to accept the recommendation of CU President (and former Republican senator) Hank Brown, and fire CU Professor Ward Churchill. It’s not likely that Brown, one of the shrewdest (and most conservative) politicians Colorado has produced, would recommend the firing unless he was already sure the Regents would back him up. So it’s a very good bet that the Regents will indeed give Churchill the axe. The only thing that might change their minds is an outpouring of public opinion supporting a professor’s right to voice unpopular views.
The Regents’ decision is not merely a local affair. It has enormous impact on the whole country. That gives you the right — and the responsibility — to let them know what you think. The chair of the University of Colorado Board of Regents is Patricia Hayes. You can write to her at:
Why should you bother? It’s still a rare occasion when a tenured professor is fired because he is an outspoken leftist. But every time a witchhunt is successful, it encourages other right-wingers to go after their favorite target. It brings the next witchhunt closer and increases the odds that it will succeed.
My letter to Patricia Hayes:
Dear Ms Hayes,
I am writing to you in behalf of ending the witch hunt against leftist professors which is taking place across this nation.
Ward Churchill is a flawed human being, like everyone of us. But he has contributed substantially to the literature of oppression against native peoples. As an actual enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation, it does not bother me that the unenrolled Mr. Churchill spoke as a Cherokee. Nor as an intellectual and a publisher, does it bother me that Mr. Churchill has made a mistake or two in his academic research. Name me one professor who has not!
What bothers me is that Ward Churchill is being punished for speaking an unpopular truth. Yes, his unfortunate metaphors have brought down the wrath of the right wing pundits, and a portion of the mainstream press. But Mr. Churchill has spoken much truth, and his opinions deserve to be heard. And they should not have a bearing on his academic standing.
Free speech has been, and should continue to be, a central pillar of academia. Please do not further undermine that principle by firing Ward Churchill.
Duane Poncy, publisher
elohi gadugi / the habit of rainy nights press
p.o. box 12004, portland, or 97212