Originally published in Rocky Mountain News
“Why, by the way, did it take Arabs to do what people here should have done a long time ago?”
CU Professor Ward Churchill asked his Seattle audience during a recorded discussion of the 9/11 attacks (8/10/03).
There is concerted effort by Ward Churchill and his supporters to limit the current debate to a discussion of his outrageous correlation of World Trade Center victims to “little Eichmanns.”
Such strategy is logical because, as grotesque and indecent as that analogy was, it would not alone warrant dismissal.
Read further in that Churchill essay and he states that terrorists will next deliver a "dose of medicine" in the possible form of anthrax, mustard gas, sarin and/or a tactical nuclear device in order to "push back" and teach evil America a lesson. "As they should," Professor Churchill proclaimed. "As they must."
For the intellectually curious, this was an invitation to explore further the professor’s teachings. We promptly obtained and reviewed the prolific writings and recorded speeches of Professor Churchill. Colorado’s public records laws were immediately utilized to gain access to non-privileged information from CU.
Our investigation has led to inescapable conclusions. Mr. Churchill has made things up to put himself in a position to incite and actively advocate violence against the US and its citizens.
Mr. Churchill stands credibly accused of ethnic fraud, grade retribution, falsification of the nature of his military service, academic fraud, plagiarism, selling other artists’ creations as his own, and falsely accusing Post columnist Diane Carman of inventing incendiary quotations.
All this provides ample justification for termination pursuant to accusations of incompetence and lack of integrity. But it is Mr. Churchill’s instructions on violence that demand immediate suspension followed by termination. Due process must be provided but unless this accused can somehow suppress his own statements, he should and will ultimately lose his job.
Here is what Mr. Churchill preaches. The U.S. is fascist and Nazi-like. Genocide has been and continues to be perpetrated by our government here and abroad. America was illegally colonized by non-natives who now should be killed.
According to this CU professor, violence is necessary to dismantle the illegal entity which is the United States. Churchill’s recorded reactions to 9/11 were “Right on!” and a statement that “The action was correct.” On April 19, 1995, Churchill praised and celebrated the OKC bombing during his CU class.
Colorado law has long required teachers at state schools to execute an oath to uphold the US Constitution. In 1969, CU professors sued to avoid the necessity of signing such a loyalty oath.
In upholding the law, the Honorable William Doyle, a CU grad and JFK appointee, wrote an opinion affirmed by the US Supreme Court:
The oath is an almost universal requirement of all public officials, including lawyers and judges, and it cannot be truthfully said that teachers are being picked on. Teachers would, however, be the first to admit that they work in a sensitive area in which they can shape the attitudes of the students with whom they come in contact. The state has a vital concern in the educational process, and has the right not only to screen teachers as to their fitness, but also to be concerned about possible advocacy of overthrow of the government by force and violence.
Mr. Churchill has gone further than the prohibited advocacy of force and violence to overthrow the government. During a Q&A following the above referenced 8/10/03 Seattle event, a white man asked how he could commit a terrorist act without alerting the target, eliciting the following response from the CU professor:
“You carry the weapon. That’s how they don’t see it coming. You’re the one. They talk about ‘color blind or blind to your color.’ You said it yourself. You don’t send the Black Liberation Army into Wall Street to conduct an action. You don’t send the American Indian Movement into downtown Seattle to conduct an action. Who do you send? You! With your beard shaved, your hair cut close and wearing a banker’s suit.”
Such direct instruction on methods of violence may expose its author to civil liability. Now that CU is on notice, the 1997 case of Rice v. Paladin Press should cause every Colorado taxpayer to worry about vicarious liability if and when Professor Churchill’s instructions result in the violence he advocates.
The ongoing employment of Mr. Churchill is a catastrophe for CU. The US Supreme Court has held that a government employer can terminate an employee whose speech impairs its mission and reputation.
We do not seek to silence Ward Churchill. Indeed, we have had him as a guest on our show and have invited him back for further discussion. We will even give him a half hour of uninterrupted air time if he will agree to answer our questions for the following half hour.
As attorneys and radio talk show hosts, we treasure free speech. From our divergent political perspectives, we vigorously debate the great issues of the day. Some issues are a matter of left versus right. The Ward Churchill controversy is a matter of right versus wrong.
It is wrong to allow Mr. Churchill to continue as a CU professor. The credibility, platform and opportunities that attach to that position should be removed. The law and the facts support that conclusion.