July 25, 2007

Let the Lawsuit Commence!

Ya know, it's probably bad of me to deliberately wait until Inside Higher Ed publishes its version of the Ward Churchill Gets Fired story to post a link, but the usual suspects on that comments forum simply leave the regulars at the Chronicle in the dust.

So read and enjoy.

Oddest bit of "this question cannot be answered" logic from a blog referenced at the end of the article:
“Should the fact of a witch-hunt be enough to bring academia to the defense of one of its own? The knee-jerk answer is ‘Yes.’ But what if it turns out that the person in question (the details of the Churchill case aside) really wasn’t qualified for the position, by background or by scholarship? What if it turns out that there certainly was dishonesty going on? Should the defense be continued?” Barlow wrote. “The results of the Churchill case will not answer these questions..."

Why won't they? What academic institution would want to continue to place its own reputation on the line for someone who should never have been a member of the faculty--according to both the institution's and the discipline's standards--in the first place? Either you're qualified or you aren't. Either you plagiarized or you didn't. Some things just aren't subjective, particularly if you're trying to maintain trust in the integrity of higher education.

The comments are the usual bag of laughs. The upside? If you make political hires, you'd best be prepared for political fires. Because for all the vaunted talk of academic freedom, your butt is totally at the mercy of donors, trustees, and nervous fundraisers with the administration's ear. And if you're a professional "provacateur" whose credentials and ethics are, shall we say, less than stellar, a low profile is your best friend if you want to stay at the higher ed trough. But that's a life lesson for another day, kids.

Cynical? Me?

Shut your mouth.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at July 25, 2007 07:59 PM | TrackBack

I agree--good riddance. The question I'd like to see answered is why he kept his job this long--or why Boulder hired him in the first place...

Posted by: Nathan Tabor at July 26, 2007 01:01 AM

No way! You decide...

Posted by: Linda at July 26, 2007 08:10 AM

Linda -

Thanks for the link - should make for some fun lunchtime reading. I'm especially excited about the way that the conversation has gone from "prove he plagiarized" to "Ann Coulter is evil and what about Dershowitz!" in under a page.

I love academia.

Posted by: BAW at July 26, 2007 08:56 AM

So if I'm weaving down the highway, without actually breaking any traffic laws, it's unfair when the cops stop me and discover the corpse strapped upright in the passenger's seat?

Axiom: If you're breaking the rules, don't call attention to yourself. This is otherwise known as "the getaway driver should not blow his horn" rule.

Posted by: Locomotive Breath at July 26, 2007 04:57 PM

It's fun seeing Churchill get hoist on his own petard. He does everything possible to draw attention to himself. Then he calls foul when the attention he craved brings his own stupidity to light. To quote one of the great philosophers of our time, "what an ultramaroon".

But it makes for good theater.

Posted by: The Unknown Professor at July 27, 2007 10:28 AM
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