ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

It’s Official

September 10, 2005 by ACTA

The University of Colorado announced yesterday that it will proceed to launch a full-scale investigation of ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill. Churchill was the subject of a preliminary investigation over the summer, during which time some of the less credible or relevant charges against him--that he falsified his ancestry in order to pass himself off as a Native American, that he misreported certain information in the preface to a book by his ex-wife--were dropped. The seven charges that remain are more serious, and center on whether Churchill has plagiarized or otherwise misused others' work and on whether he has misrepresented and even invented historical events.

The University must now appoint an investigative panel, to consist of between three and five people who know Churchill's field and can therefore assess the charges against him more accurately than the preliminary investigative committee could. Who those people are is wide open--they can be from the University (though not from the preliminary committee), but they don't have to be. The investigation may last for as long as four months, and will result in one of three possible findings: Churchill could be found guilty of misconduct, or he could be found guilty of research error, or he could be absolved of both misconduct and error.

Churchill, who has threatened to sue the University if it continues to defer responding to his request for a sabbatical next semester, claims to be unconcerned. His present defense is a classic example of moral and intellectual relativism. He told the Associated Press this week that the issue is not one of right or wrong, or of fact versus fiction, but of interpretation: "I interpreted data differently . . . Truth is the best defense. I'm not concerned in the least."

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