WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni today came to the defense of University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill who is under investigation after publishing a commentary claiming America got what it deserved on September 11.
According to Churchill, “on the morning of September 11, 2001, a few more chickens—along with some half-million dead Iraqi children—came home to roost in a very big way at the twin towers of New York’s world trade center. Well, actually a few of them seem to have nestled in at the Pentagon as well.” Claiming that destruction of the twin towers resulted from America’s own actions, Churchill called victims of the attack “little Eichmanns.”
A number of legislators and political leaders have called for Churchill’s firing in the wake of his controversial comments. The Colorado Board of Regents has demanded that university administrators undertake a study to determine whether Churchill should be fired for “professional incompetence.”
“Professor Churchill’s claims that the victims of 9-11 were ‘little Eichmanns,’ is simply outrageous, totally absurd, mean, hateful and perverse. Even so, he should not be fired in the absence of academic due process,” said ACTA President Anne D. Neal.
ACTA’s support comes in the wake of a recent survey it commissioned from the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut of students concerning the political climate on campus. The ACTA survey found that significant percentages of students complained that their professors provided one-sided presentations and reading lists and that professors frequently interjected political commentary in class, even when it had nothing to do with the subject.
“Professor Churchill’s comments do raise the question whether his scholarship and teaching meet professional standards, and a review is entirely in order,” Neal said. “One wonders how balanced and fair-minded his teaching and grading could be. But he should not be removed without academic due process.”
“The larger issue for the Board is not what Professor Churchill said outside the classroom” said Neal. “The focus should be more broadly on whether the campus is fostering an atmosphere of open and free exchange in the classroom that permits students to think for themselves. This episode provides an opportunity to assess the state of intellectual diversity at Boulder.”
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is an educational nonprofit dedicated to academic freedom, excellence and accountability.