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Ward Churchill ( 1947 - )  Category ( Academics ) [suggest a correction]

Ward ChurchillWhat would you do if you discovered your professor was guilty of plagiarism? This is what happened to students who attended the University of Colorado (CU) in 2007, when Ward Churchill, formerly head of the University of Colorado's Ethnic Studies Program, was fired for research misconduct that year.

Churchill was born in Elmwood, Illinois in 1947, and he attended local schools. He then served in Vietnam, although reports about his actual service record are mixed. He became a full professor in the field of American Indian studies without the benefit of a PhD. He holds a BA and MA from the University of Illinois-Springfield (previously recognized as Sangamon State University) in technological communications (1974) and in communications theory (1975), respectively.

Churchill claims Native American ancestry and has written or coauthored fourteen books and more than 150 published essays, many of which are centered on the historic and modern treatment of North American indigenous people by European settlers and current government. Although Churchill was active with Native American groups and focused on their histories and current activities, his most controversial piece was written after 9/11, when he wrote a commentary that described the bankers and stock traders who died in the World Trade Center as "little Eichmanns."

According to newspaper reports, this statement incited new investigations into former allegations that Churchill's work was inappropriate. Three faculty committees had accused Churchill of plagiarism, falsification and other misconduct. Although Churchill no longer works for CU, this investigation is ongoing as CU reviews its tenure-granting process and as two members of the five-member panel involved in the Churchill investigation have resigned after criticisms about apparent conflicts of interest.

Currently, Churchill maintains a Web site centered on academic freedom and the ability to maintain political dissent.

Image: Ward Churchill speaking at the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair. Photographer Steve Rhodes, San Francisco, U.S., 2005..

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