The Movement to Defend Ward Churchill

*Ward Churchill Alert!


At the end of September we wrote that we’re at a crucial juncture in
the battle to defend dissent and critical thinking in the academy, and
that our movement needs to rise to a new level and make a much needed
leap. We see the attacks continuing to escalate, and finding focus in
the moves by the University of Colorado at Boulder to fire tenured
Ethnic Studies professor Ward Churchill. And w e said there is a real
basis for the CU administration to have to reverse its decision to
fire professor Churchill – „the more they see their decision coming
under growing scrutiny and condemnation nationally.‰ (See _October
2006 letter)
We have just received a copy of a 10/24/06 statement issued by the
AAUP Chapter at the University of Colorado at Boulder
„call [ing] on the University of Colorado’s administration to reverse
the decision to dismiss Professor Churchill.‰ We feel t his statement
is very significant, and underlines the potential – and the urgent
need – to step up our collective efforts to confront the overall
attack on the academy by „drawing the line‰ and demanding that
Professor Churchill not be fired. Coming from the Boulder AAUP, it
announces that if the administration goes ahead with the firing, they
risk an ongoing period of conflict and turmoil, from within the campus
and without. It also creates new conditions for winning many more of
our colleagues across the country, and people broadly, to see the need
and basis to oppose the firing of Churchill as well.

We believe it is critical at this moment to implement the course of
action we proposed in our October 2006 letter and we are calling on
each of you receiving this letter to make a commitment to act with
resolve in helping implement that course of action at this time, while
sharing your own thinking on other ways to proceed:

*Write articles, editorials, and Op Ed pieces for newspapers,
publications and prominent websites (, Huffington **Post,
Chronicle of Higher Ed,, etc.) that can be the
basis for greater opportunities:* Professor Dean Saitta‚s piece in
Anthropology Today is an excellent example. _Higher Education and the
Dangerous Professor: The Challenge for Anthropology

_Professor Robert Jensen‚s Parallel purges: Academic freedom in Iran
and America
article drawing
the connection between the president of Iran‚s call to purge the
universities, and what is taking place in the U.S. * Nazi Cleansing of
America‚s Universities: Could It Happen Here?
* is another. There is an
opportunity right now, in the wake of the statement from the UC
Boulder AAUP, to point to this statement in expressing our opposition
to the decision to fire Churchill. Let‚s seize the time, while
corresponding on the way to maximize the impact we can have at this

*PRESS/Media work:* We think there is an opportunity for the movement
in opposition to the attack on academia to be covered in media outlets
at this time, including major outlets such as Countdown with Keith
Olbermann, who has been outspoken in his opposition to the whole
direction that the Bush administration has taken the country. We are
going to explore these opportunities now, while continuing to plan for
a national press statement if we‚re unable to derail the CU
administration and a final decision is announced.

We need to be able to include in press releases a list of faculty who
are prepared to speak on the issues surrounding this case ˆ now, and
if/when a decision is announced. Please let us know if we can add your
name to this list of faculty available to speak. Include your phone
number/contact information, so we can provide that to the press.

At the October 7th meeting of faculty in Los Angeles a decision was
made to hold a conference in the coming months on the subject of
defending dissent and critical thinking. We will let you know more as
the details are worked out, but let us know if you are interested in
participating and speaking at the conference.

1 thought on “The Movement to Defend Ward Churchill”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s