Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ward Churchill

It seems that the blogosphere is rife with commentary about the demise of CU professor Ward Churchill. I wasn't really concerned with it until I read a blurb on the Junction Daily Blog that went like this:
According to today's Rocky Mountain News, disgraced CU professor Ward Churchill is entitled to a full year's salary, more than $96,000, as severance pay. Should he decide to retire and begin receiving benefits to which he is entitled under PERA, he can draw $70,000 per year if has has not bought extra years of service under the plan. The university is currently discussing whether he'll be allowed to keep his health insurance benefits.

What the hell is he complaining about?
I decided to comment, and by the time I was done I had a nice post put together. So here it is, for what it's worth, and since I'm not a product of the rarefied air of academia that Mr. Churchill and his entourage populate, perhaps it won't carry the same weight that it would coming from someone with a college degree. It's a free country, though, or so we think:

Churchill reminds me of a line from Monty Python:

"Professor of Applied Narcotics at the University of Please Yourself, California".

This is not about Churchill personally. He's the poster child for those in academia who fear accountability and peer review, and hide behind tenure as an excuse for doing real work, or making the impact that they were perhaps even hired to make.

I agree that Churchill wasn't fired for coming up with his own ideas and speaking them, no matter how curious they were. He made his own bed when he took other people's ideas and touted them as his own, and now he has to sleep in that bed. Pretty comfy bed from the sound of it, too.

Do you think any contributions toward substance abuse research among Native American populations might be forthcoming from that somewhat gilded parachute? Or might he adopt or sponsor a Native American child affected with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
The Ward Churchill Foundation..what a concept.

Don't hold your breath. It's all going to trial lawyers, and to accomplish what? True academic "freedom" without the requisite responsibility.

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