Friday, March 20, 2009

Stolen Churchill update

Thought I'd make it to the trial today, but a landlord's work is never done. So I'll just steal from the Camera blog again. Sounds like Churchill investigative committee member Robert Clinton was strong on direct examination:
Clinton, who was called out of order by CU to testify, said Churchill violated academic standards when he wrote an essay and attached another scholar's name -- Rebecca Robbins -- to it.

But worse, Clinton testified, is that Churchill then cited Robbins' essay -- which was actually his own -- in one of his subsequent works and didn't disclose he was the original author of the cited source.

He said it doesn't matter if Robbins agreed to have her name placed at the top of the piece, though he testified that Churchill was unable or unwilling to provide any proof that he had Robbins' consent in crediting her with the essay.

"Other researchers are going to assume -- and rightfully -- that this is a third-party independent source," Clinton told the jury. "It's like fabricating your own data."

He said it also has the effect of "skewing reward mechanisms" at universities by giving Robbins a credit for something she didn't do, which could result in a promotion or increased salary at her university.

Clinton also accused Churchill of "disrespecting" American Indians by attempting to credit their sacred tradition of oral history for evidence of his statements about the smallpox epidemic along the Upper Missouri River in the 1830s.

He said Churchill tried to convince the committee "after the fact" that oral traditions were his major sources for contending that the U.S. Army purposely introduced smallpox to the Mandan Indians.

"Had professor Churchill been able to produce any interviews suggesting those were his sources, we would have absolutely accepted those oral histories," Clinton told the jury. "To trot out oral tradition and hide behind it as a defense, when you didn't rely on it in print, is -- we thought -- totally disrespectful of the oral tradition."

He said the investigative committee didn't stop there. It even contacted the Mandan tribe cultural resource officer to ask if she was aware of any oral traditions that would back up Churchill's account, Clinton testified.

She said no. . . .

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