A VERSE ON THE REGENTS AND WARD CHURCHILLIf blood makes you squeamish, please close your eyes while I slit my throat.
Editor's note: The following is an open poem to the CU community.
The august board of nine
that governs the esteemed institution
and righteously defends its good name and scholarly probity
reconvened ninety minutes late.
The audience of hundreds,
motley in attire and demeanor,
The outcome was never in doubt
but the unfolding spectacle and prolonged clash of wills
Eight to one the august board
fired the despised professor
with C.C. [unCommon Courage] the sole dissenter.
Already the despised professor was a marked man
branded "DESPICABLE" by
ten million irate citizens
one thousand scribes of our populist -- and corporatized -- media
fifty democratically elected legislators
five supposedly expert investigators
two state governors
and one university president.
The despised professor's
spoken, written, and electronic rhetoric
his less articulate colleagues.
But being despicable
is not a suitable cause for firing
at any esteemed institution
that values its good name and scholarly probity.
As luck would have it
a more actionable cause appeared:
an astounding congruence of politics and procedural rigor.
Fortune favors the powerful.
The august board,
which voted eight to one to fire the despised professor,
did not deny he had:
promulgated systematic interpretations,
stimulated numberless discussions,
inspired social change.
Nevertheless the august board
had weighty reasons
to fire the man.
According to the unquestionable conclusions of unimpeachable authorities
the despised professor:
not to mention other
rumored but undocumented,
sins of omission and commission.
Ample -- if fortuitous -- cause to fire
a deeply despised professor.
On that day the august board
cast its eight to one vote
a hasty, nervous, monosyllabic retreat.
What reasonable soul could doubt
the unquestionable conclusions of unimpeachable authorities?
What moral person could challenge
the considered decision of the august board?
Those who witness hypocrisy,
see truth negated,
who comprehend the totalitarian persuasiveness of power
come by doubt honestly.
If not fearful or beholden,
if not vengeful or nursing a prior grudge,
if not starved of status or spoon-feeding a career,
if not complacent or drowned within private life,
if still able to locate merit in a bitter foe
no rocket science is needed to find
evidence flawed and incomplete,
august boards fallible,
the prosecution a house of stacked cards,
the firing a systematic framing,
the victim the commonweal.
And yet the professoriate,
leaving aside incorrigible malcontents,
greet the termination of their erstwhile colleague
with deafening quietude
and ferocious passivity.
The good doctors take care
never to offend Caesar,
never to think a thought
for which they might be terminated,
or even shot a second glance.
A crucifixion in the neighborhood?
No concern of theirs ...
let alone a mere firing.
Perhaps these voiceless inert instructors of the young
even thank the august board
a public embarrassment.
July 24, 2007.
On that date the august board
dispatched the despised professor,
preserving the good name
of the esteemed institution.
June 22, 1633.
On that date occurred another exorcism.
Another august board
another despised professor,
preserving the good name
of another esteemed institution.
Or, to be more precise,
a prior and more authoritative august board
inscribed a despised professor as antichrist,
condemning a man of the planets
to perpetual house arrest.
"And yet it does move."
What goes around will come around.
An even more bizarre letter from one R. Igor Gamow disputes what CU claims to have spent thus far to fire Ward:
A few weeks back, on Aug. 10, the Boulder Camera ran an article stating that the [Ward] Churchill case had cost CU $352,000! That number is simply ridiculous, and demonstrates how disingenuous CU really is with dispersing information to the public. I thought -- silly me -- that a ton of people would complain, citing the obvious omissions of CU continuing to pay a full professor's salary to Professor Churchill for nearly four years, while paying another professor to replace Professor Churchill, since he was not allowed to teach his classes. Also CU had to pay someone to do his committee work for three straight years. I am sure I could dredge up more costs, like who paid for the cost of maintaining his CU office for three years?Turns out Gamow knows what he's talking about:
It cost CU some $1 million to have me fired and the game is still not over, and I was just a small fry compared to Professor Churchill! Part of this $1 million was $280,000 that CU had to pay to Dr. Dana Ruehlman, as a result of losing their case in a 2006 jury trial, Ruehlman v. CU.Ruehlman v. CU? From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
A federal jury on Thursday ordered the University of Colorado to pay $285,000 to an instructor in the Boulder campus's physiology department after concluding that she had been sexually harassed by R. Igor Gamow, a prominent inventor and chemical engineer who was fired by the university in 2004 for "moral turpitude."See? Bizarre.