U of Colorado Regents may do the right thing about Churchill
Regents balk at Churchill deal
Plagiarism allegation stalls buyout proposal
There has been a tremendous amount of pressure put on the University regents not to offer Churchill a buyout, and I hope I've done my part in my own way by getting letters printed in the Denver Post and the Boulder Daily Camera in the past week.
The rumor mill was running overtime regarding the buyout being a done deal and someone I know who knows people in high places even told me which regents voted for and against the buyout. Then yet another accusation of plagiarism arose, this time from another professor. I think this is the cover the regents needed to make the right choice and I hope they make the right choice even if it's for all the wrong reasons.
This is the text of an e-mail I sent last night to all the regents:
I urge you as strongly as I can not to offer Ward Churchill a buyout.
I understand there are issues of ongoing litigation and that a buyout may be less expensive than dealing with a lawsuit that Churchill/Lane might file, but there are much larger issues at stake here.
If there is any place where demonstrating the importance of principle is critical, it is at a major public university. I understand that some of you had staked out positions in favor of Churchill when the story of his "Little Eichman" article first broke.
Although that article is disgusting and a good reason to loathe Ward Churchill, it is not the reason you must fire him, and there are many of those. From lying to get his first job with the University to academic misconduct to breach of contract, the University's case is absolutely solid. Churchill can make you take time and spend money defending his dismissal but he can not win the case.
Although a buyout might only cost Colorado taxpayers 50 cents each, I and I believe most taxpayers would gladly pay 5 or 10 or 20 times that much funding the defense of the University should you find the courage to do the right thing, and I hope you do.
I suggest you also keep in mind that while you might get rid of one problem quickly by giving Churchill a buyout, you'll get another problem which I'd argue is worse: The enmity and anger of tens of thousands of citizens of Colorado who will view you as giving money to a terrorist, and I say that without any exaggeration.
Also, you must complete and release the report of your investigation into Churchill even if you fire him or settle with him before it is completed or released. Failure to do so will bring out unending calls of coverup and will almost certainly cost you your positions, in my opinion, and more importantly it will remove any possibility of regaining academic credibility in the mind of the average citizen who must decide where to send his or her children for college.
The citizens of Colorado deserve Regents who will stand up for principle even when it might make them look as if they had made bad decisions in the past and even if the unprincipled path is easier.
Churchill took advantage of your good and trusting natures. Those of you who were his biggest supporters are the ones he most betrayed and you should not repay his stabbing you in the back by patting him on his.
You may contact me by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at xxx xxx xxxx
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