Skip to comments.Bias seen in next Churchill inquiry - (no kidding; "liberal bias" at Univ. of Colorado?)
Posted on 03/26/2005 9:18:52 PM PST by CHARLITE
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.
"The patients are in charge of the asylum," Harvey said. "The people who hired him with tenure and gave him his chairmanship will decide if he should be fired for a lack of performance."
On Thursday, university administrators released a report saying there was enough evidence to merit investigation into whether Churchill plagiarized others' work, misrepresented the work of others to bolster his ideas, or misrepresented his claimed Indian ethnicity to gain an audience for his books. The case was turned over to the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct to determine whether Churchill should be disciplined or fired.
Records and news stories show at least three of the 12 members of the committee have come out publicly supporting Churchill's rights or questioning the university's ability to discipline him after he made statements likening 9/11 victims to a top Nazi and calling for other attacks on the United States.
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."
Interim chancellor Phil DiStefano and arts and sciences dean Todd Gleeson, two of the three members who did the preliminary investigation, have previously been criticized after it became known that they both approved raises and promotions for Churchill even as they received complaints about him.
John Andrews, head of the Colorado branch of the Claremont Institute, which has criticized CU's handling of Churchill, said possible conflicts in both Churchill investigations raise concerns. "The credibility of the university's investigation is really on the line here," he said.
No one at CU on Friday could recall a case in the past 20 years in which the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct had disciplined a professor. Rosse said administrators will review the files this week to know for certain.
But that review, like most of the rest of the work of the committee, will now be conducted in secret.
Boulder campus spokeswoman Pauline Hale said the referral of the Churchill case was made public only because administrators started looking into whether his statements violated his job contract. During that inquiry, the administrators received additional information that led to the referral to the misconduct committee.
"This was a very important issue related to freedom of speech and whether or not Churchill crossed the boundaries of academic freedom and free speech," she said. "It had little related to the research-misconduct allegations, so it likely could not have been referred to the (Standing Committee on Research Misconduct) early on."
Library researcher Regina Avila contributed to this report.
Staff writer Arthur Kane can be reached at 303-820-1626 or email@example.com.
Yep........and the gargoyles have taken over the cathedrals in America, too.
No conservative alumni should contribute to CU. Hit them where they really feel it.
Employers should seriously question the value of a CU degree.
The faculty who took out the ad demanded a complete cessation of the investigation into Churchill--all allegations, on grounds that it was politically motivated. So any committee member who signed the ad clearly has a conflict of interest because he has already taken a position and put up his own funds to publicize it.
That would be in the government grant pocket. Think that could be done.
Whenever I take a job, I sign an agreement that says in effect that "if I am found to have given false information in order to get this position," it is "grounds for dismissal."
You'd think that a university would have brains enough to make their hirees sign such documents as a condition of employment.
Seems like UC was more concerned about PC than AC (academic creditials).
Make that "credentials."
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