Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bill Ayers & Ward Churchill

Unsurprisingly, Bill Ayers supported Ward Churchill, the University of Colorado professor who was fired for fraudulent scholarship.

But the spotlight on Churchill revealed numerous complaints of academic misconduct that had been raised by other academics, but never addressed by CU. He was accused of plagiarism, inventing historical incidents and ghostwriting essays which he then cited in his footnotes in support of his own views.

Those allegations were the ones that brought dismissal today.

R.G. Robertson, author of Rotting Face: Smallpox and the American Indian, said he was glad that Churchill’'s supporters did not sway the regents.

"I’'m glad that scholarship, or the ideal of scholarship, won out over somebody'’s weird view of political correctness," he said. "I’'m happy that it happened, that he’'s been found out, and, by his peers -— meaning other university people -— and been called what he is, a plagiarizer and a liar."

Robertson'’s book was among those cited by investigators as having been mischaracterized by Churchill.

"Facts are facts and truth is truth, and when you’re dealing with history I think it doesn'’t need to be distorted by people with a warped political objective," Robertson said.

Another author whose work was mischaracterized by Churchill said the firing was appropriate punishment.

"It'’s important to know Indian history, and it'’s important to know factual Indian history, not just a bunch of B.S. that someone made up," said Russell Thornton, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Churchill attributed assertions that the Army deliberately spread smallpox among Indians to one of Thornton’s book's, American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492.

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