Sunday, January 30, 2005

Ward Churchill to Speak at Hamilton College on Feb. 3, 2005

A nearby upstate college, Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, is hosting Ward Churchill as a speaker on Feb 3. After Sept. 11, 2001, Churchill wrote about the victims in the World Trade Center, "As for those in the World Trade Center," ... "well, really, let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break."

He continues:
Churchill's essay argues that the Sept. 11 attacks were in retaliation for the Iraqi children killed in a 1991 U.S. bombing raid and by economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations following the Persian Gulf War.
This is despite the fact that bin Laden himself said that the attacks were motivated by anger at the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia.
The essay contends the hijackers who crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11 were "combat teams," not terrorists. It states: "The most that can honestly be said of those involved on Sept. 11 is that they finally responded in kind to some of what this country has dispensed to their people as a matter of course."

The essay maintains that the people killed inside the Pentagon were "military targets."

....The essay goes on to describe the victims as "little Eichmanns," referring to Adolph Eichmann, who executed Adolph Hitler's plan to exterminate Jews during World War II.
So even the illegal immigrants working in the restaurants in the WTC were Nazis? As were the folks who worked at Windows on the World? And the people who cleaned the offices in the building? And the police and firemen who tried to save people? Churchill is the head of the University of Colorado's Ethnic Studies Department and should know better about poor people, undocumented workers, and working class workers in general. (This is not to justify his remarks about ANY of the people killed in the WTC - as far as I'm concerned, all the people who died that day were innocent victims, and the attackers were terrorists).

For more on Churchill, see here.

Families of the Sept. 11 victims, including a student at the college who lost his father in the attacks, are outraged. The student, Matt Coppo, said "Knowing that I'm paying for a person to disrespect my father, it doesn't go over too well in my mind," Coppo told The Post-Standard of Syracuse (cited in an article in New York Newsday).

Hamilton is defending its choice of speaker with the usual set of academic excuses:
Administrators defended Churchill's appearance, even while admitting his views are considered "repugnant and disparaging" by many people.

"Hamilton, like any institution committed to the free exchange of ideas, invites to its campus people of diverse opinions, often controversial. The opportunity to encounter and respond to people from outside academia in their intensity and their immediacy is among the key attributes of a liberal education," the school said in a statement issued by college spokesman Michael DeBraggio.
The academic program that has invited Churchill also invited another controversial speaker to campus, but was ultimately forced to uninvite her:
Churchill's panel discussion is part of a series sponsored by the Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society and Culture, a college-funded program that tried to bring 1960s radical Susan Rosenberg to Hamilton. Rosenberg, who served 16 years in federal prison for possessing explosives and was linked to a 1981 armored car robbery in which two police officers were killed, was to teach a half-credit memoir-writing course this month but withdrew from the position in December after weeks of debate and protest on campus.
I do wonder why it's considered "educational" to invite such people to speak and teach on campuses. Do the parents who are paying the bills for their children to go to Hamilton know what their money is going towards?


  1. Rebecca,
    I am a parent that stumbled across your blog, a former resident of CNY (outside the village of Hamilton, about 30 miles away). My daughter does not attend Hamilton College because of such , um, "stuff", shall I say? But even where she does attend in Michigan, there are things outside the limits I would set.

    Best I can do as a parent, is protest, perhaps not the way we 'hippies' used to, but never-the-less to be among those who-- "push back" did he say? Chickens really do come home to roost. Or to use the christian schiptures "whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap": the same stuff, more of it than was planted, and only after a suitable delay.

    Harvest time?

  2. Churchill was not invited to speak about 9/11. He was invited to speak about Native American issues and social class. Very relevant to Central New York. And VERY educational.

    Parents (and not all of them pay for their children's education) who send their children to college must do so because they know that colleges and professors know something that they want their children to learn. Remember that college professors have PHDs--they have specialized in something through extended years of study and training in research.

    If parents send their children to school just to reinforce their parents' ideologies, perhaps college should just become another home school enterprise.

    Students in college are smart enough to make up their own minds.

  3. Ah, but Mr. Churchill didn't even have a Ph.D.! Is it really so salutary for students to be taught by teachers who are guilty of plagiarism and lying about their identity?