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

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun