April 3, 2009

Ward Churchill wins his lawsuit against the University of Colorado.

Rightly so, I think:
The jurors found that Mr. Churchill’s political views had been a “substantial or motivating” factor in his dismissal, and that the university had not shown that he would have been dismissed anyway....
But if he won, why only $1 in damages?

57 comments:

MadisonMan said...

But if he won, why only $1 in damages?

That's answered in the article: “I didn’t ask for money,” he said, “I asked for justice.” (He = Churchill)

Or maybe that's a face-saving statement.

MadisonMan said...

Heh. I wonder if the lawyer is getting 1/3rd of the settlement.

David Walser said...

I disagree that this was the "proper" result. I'm NOT saying the jury erred in it's decision, only that it's not obvious that Churchill was fired because of his remarks about 9/11. Given his record of plagiarism and other forms of academic fraud, and his misrepresentations of his ethnicity (he was hired under a program targeting Native Americans), the University had solid reasons for firing totally apart from any remarks he ever made about any topic.

The only connection the 9/11 remarks may have had with his firing is the controversy over those remarks led to the discovery of his lies and frauds in other areas. Should controversial remarks insulate a professor for discipline for unrelated behavior that warrants discipline? If so, that would create a perverse set of incentives.

SteveR said...

I've give him $1 if he'd get a damn haircut. Its 2009 and he's not a rock star.

Big Mike said...

On the other hand, it seems fair to say that his political views must have had some influence on his achieving tenure in the first place -- how else to explain what seems to be a total lack of vetting?

Diamondhead said...

The only reason we found out Churchill was a fraud and a plagiarist was that he exposed himself as batshit crazy and an intellectual midget. The University could have hired Mos Def to teach his classes and not missed a beat.

Bissage said...

If Mr. Churchill didn’t ask for money then a motion for remittitur must be in the works.

David said...

Why $1. Because he earned it.

hawkeyedjb said...

So, all you have to do to inoculate yourself against any future charges of plagiarism is to make anti-American statements? Any future investigations into academic misconduct can then be deflected by invoking one's first amendment rights! Get busy professor: make some wild charges against your fellow Americans, and you too can be immune to charges of academic fraud.

Colorado University should put a big sign over the front door: There are no enforceable academic standards at this university. Caveat emptor.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The only reason we found out Churchill was a fraud and a plagiarist was that he exposed himself as batshit crazy and an intellectual midget.

Yet a man with the same record is the Vice President of the United States.

Pete the Streak said...

MM: 'Or maybe that's a face-saving statement'.

Yes. If he didn't ask for money, they wouldn't have awarded him any.

Ward Churchill. Toolus Maximus.

m00se said...

Hmm.

Perhaps you thought it was rightly overturned - however I can see why a professor wouldn't want to see this sort of thing become commonplace.

I think he's a fraud and needed to be fired.

Mr. Forward said...

He only earned 25 cents.

The other 75 cents was punitive damages.

Hoosier Daddy said...

“I didn’t ask for money,” he said, “I asked for justice.”



I can appreciate the sanctity of tenure but I think if a tenured professor is found out to be a fraud (claims of Indian ancestry) and plagirism, that's a whole different story than holding controversial views.

And they say cheaters never win.

Ern said...

But if he won, why only $1 in damages?

Because a jury can't award any lesser amount?

Bob said...

But if he won, why only $1 in damages?

It's the jury's way of saying yah, you won, but we still think you're an insufferable prick.

Jim Hu said...

Because a jury can't award any lesser amount?
According to the article in the NYT, they asked if they could award $0.

The scandal revealed by the investigation was how Colorado had hired Churchill in the first place, and how someone like him rose through the system while committing the kinds of academic misconduct found by the faculty committee.

But... it sure seems to me that they only bothered to turn over the rock because of the 9/11 controversy. This was a civil trial, so we don't need beyond reasonable doubt... and I'm not sure that there's even reasonable doubt that "Little Eichmann's" triggered the probes.

Peter V. Bella said...

Yet a man with the same record is the Vice President of the United States.

This is the new political era. Charlatans, frauds, con men, and grifters have rights to elected office. Welcome to the new AmeriKa.

Roy Lofquist said...

This is a case of jury nullification. They did their duty to be a finder of fact. The dollar award was their way of holding their collective noses when reporting their verdict.

piedtyper said...

because he's a despicable person.
Now the university should jump through all the hoops and fire him properly -- and permanently.

Original Mike said...

I agree with the jury (The jurors found that Mr. Churchill’s political views had been a “substantial or motivating” factor in his dismissal..."). I think the problem is Churchill never should have been hired in the first place. Colorado may not have known of the plagarism etc. at the time of his hiring, but I think it's safe to guess they didn't look and didn't want to know. They wanted him for what he was, a lefty provocateur, and I find it satisfying that it came back to bite them in the ass.

Methadras said...

He's only worth $1. He's not even worth the 50 cents worth of a hot load. Piece of ultra-leftist crap.

jdeeripper said...

David Walser said...Given his record of plagiarism and other forms of academic fraud, and his misrepresentations of his ethnicity (he was hired under a program targeting Native Americans)..

Yes, why is he allowed to continue to engage is this blatant racial fraud. He's 100% White man, not one bit American Indian in ancestry or social background.

Why is he allowed to continue playing "Indian" and to benefit from an employment opportunity designed for people of American Indian ancestry?

rightwingprof said...

"I can appreciate the sanctity of tenure"

When it covers academic fraud and plagiarism, "sanctity" is not longer the appropriate word.

Fen said...

Colorado University should put a big sign over the front door: There are no enforceable academic standards at this university.

oh I think they already have.

MadisonMan said...

Colorado University

It's the University of Colorado.

traditionalguy said...

Let's face it that faculties at major Universities have for 40 years assumed the role of the critics of our Social Mores in order to be seen as exceptional and cutting edge Educators. They do not want to be seen to be supporting the very community standards that they are trashing as dumb myths to create an appearance of having special insight. But the wealthy Alumni Donors are usually kept in the dark, until a Ward Churchill is front page news. This Jury figured out that Churchill had done nothing wrong by acting out a total fraud as a social attack dog Professor at the exceptionally enlightened University of Colorado. That was his job.

kynefski said...

It's a shame that the article focused on the politics.

Or is he unpatriotic or — as his harshest critics contend — an outright collaborator with the nation’s enemies at a time of war?

Or is he a worthless fraud? I can understand the kind of poisoned fruit issue these jurists had to deal with, but I wish the published descriptions of this case would focus more on Churchill's deliberate dishonesty as a scholar. That is why the university committee, for all of their concerns about the circumstances under which they were convened, could not bring itself to support his retention.

Tibore said...

He won??? Despite his obvious academic fraud? Oh my God...

I don't care if he only got a dollar from it. This is the worst precedent to set, ever. Now how are universities supposed to handle scholars who distort and lie in their work? The man has damaged scholarship, but the jury thinks he was wronged by being terminated? Good luck firing any dishonest faculty from now on!

Jesus... how stupid is that...

Fen said...

Hey, I'm still trying to figure out why Bill Ayers is walking around alive, much less teaching at Univ of Illinois.

kynefski said...

Hey, I'm still trying to figure out why Bill Ayers is walking around alive, much less teaching at Univ of Illinois.

You have an interesting standard for execution.

Oh, that's right. He was an Enemy of the People.

Wahrheit said...

Heh, if he needs money, put me and Ward in an MMA-style octagon (we're about the same age, after all). Since he's a Native American (heh, heh) we both get a traditional war club. PPV gross ought to be a couple million dollars, if the promotion is properly done. I'm sure there are at least 100,000 Americans who would up $20 to see Ward get the snot knocked out of him. Split the gate 60-30-10; 60 percent to the winner, 30 percent to the loser, and 10 percent to the children of the "Little Eichmanns" who were turned to ash by the "heroic freedom fighters" on 9-11-01.

It's a win-win-win!

m00se said...

So, let me get this straight - the jury found he was dismissed due to his political views. What then would they have to say to a racist or a pedophile espousing repugnant views?

Sounds like they just took tenure one big step further towards total immunity from repercussion...

Tibore said...

Oh, what the hell??!! From the comments in the NYTimes article:

"How many of you who are so dismissive and critical of Mr Churchill's work have actually read any of it? It seems most of your charges of fraud and plagiarism are based on the same second hand information that was manipulated to justify his firing.

Churchill dares to challenge the prevailing story we tell our selves - the one that says we (citizens of the US) have some position of superior morality in the world. He points out the fallacy in this prevailing faith and it scares those who most benefit from it."


You freakin' idiot. It's one thing to talk about political persecution, it's another to claim that the misconduct wasn't truly misconduct. Ward Churchill committed one confirmed act of plagerism, one confirmed fabrication of information, and one confirmed act of falsification of information. That's not just saying something unpopular, that's unadultrated, intentional academic misconduct. You can NOT fabricate or falsely represent information. Period. Lying about basic data corrupts the work, and harms the base of knowledge the academician contributes to.

Fine. So the trial was speaking towards the motivations of the university administration. Whatever. That does not refute the fact that Churchill outright lied in his scholarship.

Lying was enough to get Hwang Woo Suk terminated, Andrew Wakefield censored, and Scott Reuben investigated. Guess all they had to do was make some crazy political claim to shield themselves from criticism, huh?

Daryl said...

I'm guessing there's a lot of plagiarism and incompetence in Althouse's old work.

She only created the blog in order to become a lightning rod for criticism so that the university could never fire her once her academic misconduct came to light.

Why else would a liberal law professor endorse Dubya?

Why would a competent professor ever stand up for a fraud/huckster like Ward Churchill with a proven record of academic misconduct?

It all makes sense now.

(sarcasm)

John Althouse Cohen said...

you too can be immune to charges of academic fraud.

He lost his job and recovered $1. I wouldn't call that "immune."

Original Mike said...

He lost his job and recovered $1. I wouldn't call that "immune."

We'll see if he's lost his job. The article says he'll use the trial result to push for reinstatement.

Pete the Streak said...

JAC: "He lost his job and recovered $1. I wouldn't call that "immune."

Well, he's up a buck that he isn't worth, and has disgraced higher education (which isn't difficult these days).

JAC, the guy's a clown. I know it. You know it.

Bruce Hayden said...

Colorado University

It's the University of Colorado.


While true, it is still routinely referred to as CU, and not UCO, etc. Try, for example, going to their website at colorado.edu, and there are numerous references to "CU" as their preferred abbreviation.

mcg said...

I'm with JAC. The university botched his firing, and the jury recognized that. But they also recognized that he deserved to be fired anyway, and that was reflected in the damages.

He can declare victory all he wants but that victory isn't going to help him get a new job with anyone reputable. The damage to his reputation and record have been done, and any university to hire him is going to be a laughingstock.

Jeremy said...

I think he'll get his job back or an increase in the monetary damages.

Tibore said...

Guys, JAC's right. Churchill's not immune. It's worse than that. Immune suggests that someone cannot be touched to begin with, and Churchill did get fired. What's happening to Churchill is that he's turned immortal, in a career sense (not the literal sense, of course). He lost his job, but that act was deemed wrong. Ergo, the court case can be interpreted as saying that he shouldn't have lost his job.

Where does his commision of fraudulent scholarship come in? Obviously in the single dollar judgement. But the act of termination was wrong according to the jury, and that's the bigger problem. He's basically established that the bigger wrong was the termination, not the research misconduct. And that is what has me so worked up over this case: The jury has effectively condoned lying.

If a scholar cannot be terminated for blatant fabrication and falsification in academic work, and can hide behind some charge of "witch-hunting", then historical scholarship as a whole is damaged. And what use is university-level historical research then, if blatantly false scholarship is not seen as the most grave academic offense imaginable?

Accuracy and truth just took a hike with this judgement.

Tibore said...

"mcg said...
I'm with JAC. The university botched his firing, and the jury recognized that. But they also recognized that he deserved to be fired anyway, and that was reflected in the damages.

He can declare victory all he wants but that victory isn't going to help him get a new job with anyone reputable. The damage to his reputation and record have been done, and any university to hire him is going to be a laughingstock."


I hope you're right, man. I hope people will see it that way. But really, how many in academia will? And above and beyond Churchill, how will other universities deal with blatantly false scholarship from here on out? This imposes a chilling effect on the ability to get rid of academic fraudsters. I fear more David Irvings and Ward Churchills as a result of this.

I hope I'm wrong. But I'm cynical about the chances of me being so.

Revenant said...

You have an interesting standard for execution. Oh, that's right. He was an Enemy of the People.

He tried to murder a whole bunch of innocent Americans. In what sense does that not qualify as "an enemy of the people"? Trying to murder me is pretty much the #1 way to become my enemy. :)

John Lynch said...

I think it's a good judgment. Clearly he was only fired after he came to embarrassing national attention and his misconduct would not have gotten him fired otherwise. The plagiarism had been floating around for a while, but no action had been taken. I'm not a believer in arbitrary justice, and that's what this is. Nothing happened until they had a reason. Rules should be enforced consistently or not at all.

The $1 amount is a very clear indication of what the jurors thought of him otherwise.

He would have taken the money, and he'll take any compensation the judge awards.

John Lynch said...

On intellectual grounds, his justification of murdering American businessmen because they support the American empire, if taken to its logical end, justifies killing enemy civilians to win a war.

So, it seems to me, bombing cities is OK if we accept his logic. For people like Churchill it only matters what side you're on, not any "objective" moral guide to conduct.

Original Mike said...

The damage to his reputation and record have been done, and any university to hire him is going to be a laughingstock.

Sadly, I'm not sure that's the case.

Synova said...

He (Ayers) tried to murder a whole bunch of innocent Americans.

Oh, posh. What's a little bit of conspiracy to murder? No thinking person would let that bother them.

His employers are pleased to have him teaching impressionable young people. He provides diversity of opinion and gravitas to the university.

Peter V. Bella said...

You have an interesting standard for execution.

Not as interesting as mine. I believe that dealing drugs should be a capital offense. They are poison, they kill people, either slowly or quickly. Drug dealers are selling death and they should be executed in return. They are also responsible for the high murder rates. Anyone convicted of dealing drugs, no matter how small the amount gets the needle. Just think, we can clear the prisons of all those costly inmates.

Jeremy said...

Churchill's attorneys, whether you believe them or not:

"As for the $1 damage award," Newell said jurors simply listened to Churchill and his attorney. "They made a strong point they didn't want any money from it and so we just went with that so we just took them on their word for it," Newell said.

Also: "...the judge has no choice but to let Churchill teach again at CU. Lane says if Churchill is reinstated and CU doesn't give him back something equivalent to his old job, that would be grounds for another lawsuit."

Grumpy said...

Althouse: "Rightly so, I think."

Obviously the jury wanted to send the right wing faculty committee at UC a message.

Fen: "Hey, I'm still trying to figure out why Bill Ayers is walking around alive, much less teaching at Univ of Illinois."

Kynefski: "You have an interesting standard for execution."

Right. The penalty for treason is to be put in time out.

Evidently, I'm missing the big picture here.

Jeremy said...

Peter: "Drug dealers are selling death and they should be executed in return."

Does this include pot, mushrooms...booze?

25,000 people die every year from booze related auto accidents.

How about tobacco? 1,000 Americans die every day of the week and year from tobacco related disease.

Peter V. Bella said...

Hey, I'm still trying to figure out why Bill Ayers is walking around alive, much less teaching at Univ of Illinois.

He was smart enough to get others to make the bombs and blow themselves up.

Revenant said...

I believe that dealing drugs should be a capital offense. They are poison, they kill people, either slowly or quickly.

Well, no. Some do, others don't. Marijuana, ecstasy, LSD, and psylocybin don't kill you, and cocaine only kills you the way that alcohol does (e.g., through excess or long-term abuse).

Jeremy said...

Whenever I hear people say drug "dealers" should be put to death I wonder if their own kid was caught selling...if they would pull the switch.

I doubt it.

Methadras said...

Revenant said...

He tried to murder a whole bunch of innocent Americans. In what sense does that not qualify as "an enemy of the people"? Trying to murder me is pretty much the #1 way to become my enemy. :)


Mine too, but remember you are either talking to a leftist sympathizer or someone who fancies themselves as a leftist or a sympathizer. In that case, being an enemy of the people by trying to murder them is morally relative when you think you come from the perspective that it's about social justice.

Peter V. Bella said...

Hey Jeremy,

Maybe you should visit the real world once in a while. If you witnessed the wholesale death and destruction that drugs have cause...

I keep forgetting, never argue with an idiot. They bring you down to their own level and try to beat you everytime. Bang head agianst wall.