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Unformatted text preview: GANDOSSY, HAUSHEER, LEONARD 1 Conjecture | Facts The case of the University of Colorado at Boulder v. Ward Churchill is surrounded by continuous controversy due to a complex nature of the disagreement. The debate is focused around the issues of academic freedom, free speech and roles and responsibilities of faculty members acting as educators and private citizens. In order to understand what prompted the investigation and to evaluate the actions taken, it is crucial to explore Churchill's background. Ward Churchill was born October 2nd, 1947, in Urbana, Illinois. One of the contradictory facts that Churchill presented was his military service. He claims to have served as a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol but no physical records corroborate his account (Pankratz and Kane) Upon Churchill's return from Vietnam, he completed his M.A. in Communication Theory at Sangamon State University, currently the University of Illinois (Pankratz and Kane) In 1978, the University of Colorado at Boulder hired Ward Churchill as an affirmative action officer in the school's administration. Aside from being an officer, Churchill also lectured on American Indian issues for ethnic studies programs. Churchill began to make a name for himself, and UC Boulder eventually hired him as an associate professor in 1990 although he did not possess the academic doctorate usually required for the position. The following year, they granted tenure to Churchill in the Communications Department after he was declined tenure by the Department of Sociology and the Department of Political Science. During his time at UC Boulder, Churchill was popular with the student body: “His classes are standing-room only. There are always 50 to 60 students on the waiting list, and these aren't just ethnic studies students; they are students of all disciplines," said Arturo Aldama, a professor in CU's ethnic studies department (Pankratz and Kane). Even before his well-publicized trial, Churchill was no stranger to legal entanglements. He has a record of being pulled over for speeding, driving without a license, and unsafe driving (Pankratz and Kane). Apart from having numerous driving violations, he was also sued more than twelve times, including the 1992 case when the government ruled he needed to repay his $18,000 student loan (Pankratz and Kane). Churchill has also been accused of false self-representation when he claimed to be of the Native American descent. Suzan Shown Harjo, the president of the Morning Star Institute, a Native American rights group in Washington, D.C. stated the following regarding Churchill's claim for Native American heritage: "This is not a Native person. He goes around college campuses, saying he was at the occupation of Alcatraz, Wounded Knee and at the Bureau of Indian Affairs takeover in 1972. But no one can remember him being there" (Kelly). Similar statements were issued by other tribe leaders that Churchill claimed to have been part of (Kelly)....
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This note was uploaded on 09/22/2011 for the course ENG 305 taught by Professor Lynch during the Spring '10 term at Saint Louis.
- Spring '10