Support free speech in academia – no to firing Ward Chuchill

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.

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.

University of Colorado Set To Fire Ward Churchill – CommonDreams.org

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:

Patricia.Hayes@cu.edu.

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.

Sincerely,

Duane Poncy, publisher
elohi gadugi / the habit of rainy nights press
p.o. box 12004, portland, or 97212

Injustice in Jena, Louisiana

From CommonDreams.org: In a small still mostly segregated section of rural Louisiana, an all white jury heard a series of white witnesses called by a white prosecutor testify in a courtroom overseen by a white judge in a trial of a fight at the local high school where a white student who had been making racial taunts was hit by black students. The fight was the culmination of a series of racial incidents starting when whites responded to black students sitting under the “white tree” at their school by hanging three nooses from the tree. The white jury and white prosecutor and all white supporters of the white victim were all on one side of the courtroom. The black defendant, 17 year old Mychal Bell, and his supporters were on the other.

Racism dead in the America? Not even close:

In a small still mostly segregated section of rural Louisiana, an all white jury heard a series of white witnesses called by a white prosecutor testify in a courtroom overseen by a white judge in a trial of a fight at the local high school where a white student who had been making racial taunts was hit by black students. The fight was the culmination of a series of racial incidents starting when whites responded to black students sitting under the “white tree” at their school by hanging three nooses from the tree. The white jury and white prosecutor and all white supporters of the white victim were all on one side of the courtroom. The black defendant, 17 year old Mychal Bell, and his supporters were on the other. The jury quickly convicted Mychal Bell of two felonies – aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery. Bell, who was a 16 year old sophomore football star at the time he was arrested, faces up to 22 years in prison. Five other black youths await similar trials on attempted second degree murder and conspiracy charges.

Read the entire article: Injustice in Jena: The ‘White Tree’, A White Judge, White Jury, and White Prosecutor Calling White Witnesses Leads To Conviction of Black Youth – CommonDreams.org

A simple issue of fairness

Portland, Oregon

I could care less about the Rose Parade, and this year even more so with the blatant militarization of the parade, which will include 16 military units and a tank, for chrissake. So the issue of “reserving” a spot with duct tape might seem to be trivial. But I have always had a little voice that says, “this isn’t right” when I witness a basic social unfairness. It probably has to do with being bullied as a child.

Portland, Oregon

I could care less about the Rose Parade, and this year even more so with the blatant militarization of the parade, which will include 16 military units and a tank, for chrissake. So the issue of “reserving” a spot with duct tape might seem to be trivial. But I have always had a little voice that says, “this isn’t right” when I witness a basic social unfairness. It probably has to do with being bullied as a child.

No one has the right to reserve public sidewalks a week ahead of an event. I don’t care if you are a single mom with nine kids who would be “heartbroken” if they couldn’t see the parade. I have to ask, what about the kids who can’t see the parade because their parents were working too hard to go out and tape off a spot ahead of time, and now every inch of the sidewalk is “reserved”? Is that fair?

Kudos to Randy Leonard, and the young people who have decided to “clean up” the ugly tape on our public sidewalks.