The End of the Ward
Back in 1994, Vernon Bellecourt and the national American Indian Movement asked the University of Colorado to investigate whether Ward Churchill obtained tenure through deception, "billing himself as an American Indian writer, scholar and artist," Bellecourt told Westword. He added that the university should get rid of "this man whose lies they've been bankrolling for the past ten years."
At the time, Churchill said the CU president's office had denied conducting any such investigation.
But according to the ad-hoc committee charged with investigating the incendiary ethnic-studies professor, which released its report yesterday, the school had indeed conducted a "preliminary investigation" but "decided to take no further action."
This committee did, however, recommend actions ranging from a two-year unpaid suspension to the outright firing of Churchill. And it also took a swing at the administration that had made the Churchill mess possible: "We believe that the University of Colorado may have made the extraordinary decision to hire Professor Churchill, a charismatic public intellectual with no doctorate and no history of regular faculty membership at a university, to a tenured position without any probationary period in part because at that moment in the institution's history, it desired the favorable attention his notoriety and following were expected to bring."
Attention, CU definitely got. Ward without end. -- Patricia Calhoun
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.