Republicans want tenure to bar future Churchills
DENVER ” Colorado universities need to come up with a tenure process that prevents professors like Ward Churchill from bypassing the system, Republican lawmakers told university professors and University of Colorado Regent Steve Bosley at their Republican Study Committee meeting on Friday.
Rep. David Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, said the current system is being run by faculty members to protect their culture. Rep. Lynn Hefley, R-Colorado Springs, said allowing faculty members to have a major role in the tenure process has increased the number of liberal faculty members.
“I have friends who will not send their kids to the University of Colorado because they feel it’s far, far too liberal,” Hefley told Bosley and the professors.
Paul Campos, a CU law professor, told the committee the tenure system at the University of Colorado failed because Churchill was allowed to bypass the process to get tenure.
“The main problem with the Ward Churchill fiasco is that this process was not followed,” Campos told lawmakers.
Churchill, an ethnic studies professor, touched off a national furor with the essay that called some terrorist attack victims “Little Eichmanns,” a reference to Nazi Adolf Eichmann, who orchestrated the extermination of European Jews during World War II.
University officials have launched an investigation into claims Churchill committed plagiarism and falsely claimed to be an American Indian.
Since the publicity about his essay, Churchill and the university have faced questions about the thoroughness of the review he underwent before he was granted tenure.
Churchill’s attorney, David Lane, called the meeting an attempt by Republicans, who no longer control the House and Senate, to get publicity.
“I don’t know that Ward Churchill bypassed anything. His credentials were reviewed and he was deemed superbly qualified. This is further evidence of Republican legislators wanting to change the law because someone expresses an unpopular opinion,” Lane said.
Churchill has denied misconduct and said he would sue if the university attempts to fire him. He has had no comment on the tenure review.
The hearing was held by a new Republican Study Committee of Colorado, an unofficial body that includes Republicans from both chambers.
Republican state lawmakers said it is modeled on a similar congressional committee and they plan to use it to collect and communicate information based on Republican principles.
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