Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hanson: Churchill didn't pull out of debate

El Presidente at Slapstick Politics notes that Victor Davis Hanson has apologized on his site for characterizing the cancellation of the debate at CU with Ward Churchill (first reported here) as Churchill having "unexpectedly pulled out." Hanson's explanation now reads, "Debate has been canceled at this time and we are working on an upcoming debate. Our apologies to Ward Churchill for misstating the reasons earlier."

Apparently it was actually a third-party sponsor, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, that cancelled the debate. Charley Arthur (aka Ward Churchill) at the filthy Try-Works blog says Ward "sent" him the explanation from the student head of the ISI, the upshot of which was that circumstances beyond their control caused the cancellation. EP:
The speculation over at Tryworks is that either ISI backed out (probable), Hanson himself chickened out (unlikely), or that a secret conservative cabal of outgoing CU President Hank Brown, President-elect Bruce Benson, and others determined that a VDH-WC debate wouldn't play well (?, also unlikely). There is also mention of Churchill pressing his contractual rights, and a potential lawsuit.
Of course. But as EP points out,
Having had some experience with bringing out high-profile speakers to CU Boulder as an undergraduate, I can say that coordinating a debate is a logistical nightmare. Having multiple parties involved--VDH and Churchill, ISI, and CU (at a minimum)--only makes the situation more complicated and more fragile. The likelihood for miscommunication rises, and could give the impression (in this case, a false one) that one party "unexpectedly pulled out", when in fact no such thing happened.
Teapot-sized though this tempest is, we'll keep you posted on developments.

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