Friday, February 04, 2005

The penalty for being a dope 

NARN in for Hewitt last night had on Bill Owens, the governor of Colorado, who was asked about Ward Churchill, and the governor replied that the matter was being looked into. He's gone a lot further than that.

No one wants to infringe on Mr. Churchill�s right to express himself. But we are not compelled to accept his pro-terrorist views at state taxpayer subsidy nor under the banner of the University of Colorado. Ward Churchill besmirches the University and the excellent teaching, writing and research of its faculty.

...His resignation as chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department was a good first step. We hope that he will follow this step by resigning his position on the faculty of the University of Colorado.

The resignation was a good step, Eugene Volokh thinks, but firing Churchill from the university is going too far.
If the Ward Churchills of the world are fired for their speech, disgusting as it is, that would be a perfect precedent for left-wing faculties and administrations to fire right-wing professors for much less offensive statements. And given the political complexion of universities these days (and the fact that most of the decisions will be made by university administrations and not by elected officials), this will end up happening to conservatives much more often than to liberals. So I think that protecting Churchill from being fired is both good in principle and good in practice.

But if he lied about his ethnic background to help him get his position at UC, that's entirely a different matter. Falsifying one's resume is grounds for dismissal, even at SCSU.