It was an incredible display. There stood Ward Churchill, defiantly flapping his arms and lips before a cheering horde of liberal students and faculty. If you have been on safari, or hiking the desert sands of the Sahara, you may not know that Mr. Churchill has been in the news. He is a professor with the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Sometime after fanatical terrorists murdered three-thousand innocent people at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Professor Churchill essentially made statements that claimed they had it coming. He said something to the effect, that the victims were just little Eichmanns, referring to Adolph Eichman, the Nazi who engineered the ghastly plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
Well those statements have been quietly celebrated, or at least tolerated by the liberal fringe until now. Recently he was invited to speak or participate in a panel discussion at Hamilton College near Utica, New York. Somehow, the light of public scrutiny finally shone on those old statements for all to witness. When that happened, the good people of this country erupted in disgust.
Hamilton College ultimately canceled the event. The University of Colorado once again found itself cast in the light of embarrassment. Mr. Churchill quickly resigned the department chair, but vowed to fight termination of his faculty position until the bitter end. He is tenured, so his threats are not brushed aside without due diligence.
Commentators, like Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel, have condemned the professor’s words almost universally. But O’Reilly goes on to say that the professor should not be fired. Mr. O’Reilly thinks that it is justifiable to shun the man, and ridicule his statements, but taking away his livelihood would be too harsh.
I might be inclined to agree, if Mr. Churchill was a forest ranger, or a bus driver. Even if he managed a McDonald’s restaurant, I would agree that public condemnation is enough. Unfortunately, the man is a Professor at a major university. His job is to shape the thoughts and attitudes of our children, the future leaders of this great society.
No, I cannot agree with Bill O’Reilly on this. When we uncover the incompetence of a medical doctor, we remove the license to practice medicine. When a lawyer violates the oath to uphold the law, the court disbars him. It is unimaginable, to think that administrators cannot protect our children and the integrity of our institutions. If tenure stands in the way, protecting the idiotic fringe from accountability, then tenure has got to go.
The protection of diverse thinking in education is not worth this. Taxpayers are the owners of public institutions, and those institutions exist for the benefit of the taxpayers. When taxpayers are on the hook for something, they have every right to oversee it, and to direct changes as they see fit.
Believe it or not, tenured professorships are not in the Constitution of the United States. A fringe lunatic, who believes that Americans deserve to be slaughtered by oppressed Middle-Easterners, should not be allowed to hold the people hostage because of tenure.
The entire concept of tenure is troubling. Where else do you find such protections in our society? I have never heard of a CEO claiming tenure. To my knowledge, there is not a single farmer in the land, who can claim tenure. The man who fixes my automobiles cannot claim tenure, and last I checked, neither can I.
I have a similar problem with lifetime appointments to the judiciary. People should never lose the right to effect change in government or taxpayer supported institutions. I realize that lifetime Judges can be impeached, but doing so is a long and difficult process, not directly controlled by the people’s vote.
I have to wonder where this mess came from. I have a sneaking suspicion that tenure was a creation dreamed up by law professors. Lawyers naturally participated in drafting our Constitution; thus, the provision for lifetime appointments for Judges. Both amounting to life sentences for the rest of us, condemned to endure these people whether we want to or not, for the rest of their natural lives.
I don’t know. Maybe this whole thing with Mr. Churchill has caused me to dream up a wacky conspiracy theory of my own. It is wacky, isn’t it?
Copyright ©2005, Phil Harris – All Rights Reserved