The University of Colorado has released its report on the academic misconduct charges leveled against ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill, and it is a whopper at 124 pages. In the report, a panel of scholars concluded that Churchill had engaged in some serious academic misconduct such as plagiarism. Inside Higher Ed has a fairly comprehensive treatment of the report that’s worth reading.
One thing that is worth noting is that both the report’s authors as well as outside scholars reported serious reservations about the fact that these charges, many of them fairly old, were not even investigated until the last year’s uproar over Churchill’s calling the World Trade Center victims “little Eichmanns” in an essay about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. FIRE, in fact, expressed these concerns early on in the case. Churchill’s sentiments were not new; as the report itself noted, “At the time [Churchill] was hired, the university was aware of the type of writing and speaking he does.” It remains disturbing from the standpoints of those concerned about both free expression and academic integrity that only after these sentiments were made known to the broader public did the university see fit to investigate these apparent instances of academic misconduct on Churchill’s part.
A decision on whether Churchill, a tenured professor, will continue to teach at the University of Colorado is expected in the coming months.