Colorado faculty file misconduct charge against Churchill committee

See the faculty’s advertisement in the Daily Camera at ward-churchill-defense.pdf
May 11, 2007
For Immediate Release

Marki LeCompte 303-578-2442, Tom Mayer 303-492-2138, Eric Cheyfitz 607-227-2076, Michael Yellow Bird 785-864-2661

Faculty Group Files Academic Misconduct Charges Concerning Churchill Report

On Thursday, May 10, 2007, twelve tenured professors filed formal charges of academic misconduct against members of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct (SCRM) investigating committee that produced a report supporting allegations of academic wrongdoing, including fabrication and plagiarism, by Professor Ward Churchill. The report will form the basis for a recommendation by CU President Hank Brown to either dismiss charges against Churchill or forward the report to the University of Colorado Board of Regents with a recommendation for action, including possible revocation of tenure and dismissal, against the controversial professor. Given the damning nature of the report, it is widely expected to weigh heavily against Professor Churchill.

The group of faculty from the University of Colorado and other institutions as far away as Cornell University in New York filed the charges a few days after newly appointed Vice President of Academic Affairs and Research, Michael Poliakoff rejected an American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Colorado Chapter request the CU administration withdraw the report and rescind misconduct charges against Churchill. The group says the SCRM committee report contains a number of serious flaws including:

*Relying on a biased and flawed source for major arguments;
*Relying on the artificial exclusion of reputable independent sources that contradict the
Report’s arguments;
*Suppressing text from a cited source that contradicts the Report’s argument;
*Distorting the weakness of the Report’s case;
*Artificially limiting scholarly interpretation in violation of norms of scholarship.
*Exaggerating charges of plagiarism that are at best debatable, and relatively trivial in
relation to the great body of his work and the historical treatment of such offenses.

Two American Indian Studies experts, Professors Eric Cheyfitz of Cornell and Michael Yellow Bird of the University of Kansas, independently discovered errors and omissions in the SCRM report that seriously compromises its credibility. The faculty group presented extensive documentation backing its request for withdrawal of the SCRM report. Although the administration addressed the Colorado AAUP request, there was no response to the faculty group’s letter. Professor Tom Mayer who joined the group filing charges sounded a bit of irony: “The administration answered the AAUP, claiming it would not allow such ‘outside requests’ to influence its handling of the Churchill’s case, yet it completely ignored an identical request from its own faculty. Given that fact and the role outside forces played in starting the investigation of Churchill in the in the first place, I think we are witnessing not one but two double standards at play here.”

According to University bylaws, a SCRM investigative committee similar to the one that wrote the report now at issue must hear the faculty complaint. According to CU Education professor Marki LeCompte , “the original investigative committee members will soon have to respond to charges they knowingly produced a deeply flawed report based upon a selective presentation of ‘evidence’ against Professor Churchill.” LeCompte added: “Once we understood from Cheyfitz and Yellow Bird just how incredibly skewed the Churchill report is, we had to conclude that the whole effort to get rid of Churchill is fundamentally political rather than based on any reasonable notion of research misconduct.”

The twelve professors filing charges today include in alphabetical order are:

Leonard Baca, Professor, School of Education, and Director, BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, University of Colorado, Boulder

Eric Cheyfitz
Ernest I White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Elisa Facio
Associate Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder

Vijay Gupta
Professor, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering
Fellow, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)
University of Colorado, Boulder

Margaret LeCompte
Professor, School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder

Paul Levitt
Professor, Department of English, University of Colorado, Boulder

Tom Mayer
Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado, Boulder

Peter Michelson,
Professor Emeritus, Department of English, University of Colorado, Boulder

Emma Perez
Associate Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder

Brenda Romero, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Musicology, College of Music, University of Colorado, Boulder

Martin Walter
Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Colorado, Boulder

Michael Yellow Bird (Sahnish, Hidatsa)
Associate Professor, Center for Indigenous Nations Studies, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas


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