ERIC Number: EJ772130
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Reference Count: N/A
Limits of Freedom: The Ward Churchill Case
O'Nell, Robert M.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v38 n5 p34-41 Sep-Oct 2006
The University of Colorado's Ward Churchill is but the latest in a long line of professors whose volatile statements have created controversy for themselves and their universities. Specific personnel matters in the case have been meticulously addressed in Boulder, but several larger questions have been curiously neglected. One might well ask, for example, whether (as the initial Colorado faculty committee assumed) the proper standard by which to judge a professor's extramural speech is the First Amendment rights of public employees, or whether expectations within the academic community should more sensitively reflect the special needs or responsibilities of scholarship and teaching. Also largely overlooked has been the fact that Churchill held both a tenured teaching position and a department chairmanship--and whether his intemperate statements should be judged differently in the distinctive contexts of his dual roles. Finally, little attention has been paid to the proximity between the topic of the offending statements and the speaker's academic field--a nexus that surely would seem to warrant further study. It is time to broaden the inquiry to encompass these critical questions, so that everyone might have guidance for handling future cases of this sort. In this article, the author presents Ward Churchill's case and examines whether this case is an attack on academic freedom.
Descriptors: Constitutional Law, Academic Freedom, College Faculty, Teacher Attitudes, Terrorism, Freedom of Speech, Tenure, Educational Administration
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment