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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  July 26, 2007
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Topic category:  Other/General

Ward Churchill's Mistake: Not Working at Duke

Hopefully, academic freedom and freedom of speech will not be manipulated to protect plagiarists from the reasonable consequences of plagiarism too. If it does, then making outrageous statements will be the clever thing for plagiarists to do.

Many sins are shielded by academic freedom. The fiasco known as the Duke lacrosse case illustrated that. There the real villains were not the Spring Break partiers who were in the vicinity when a couple of strippers decided to target them. In addition to a false accuser who has not been charged with false accusing and a rogue prosecutor who still has not been criminally charged with obstruction of justice, the real villains are unsanctioned political correctness extremists in the Duke administration and on the Duke faculty who shamelessly manipulated and abandoned students who did not expect or deserve it, demonstrated "indefensible lynch-mob furor" and even praised anarchists calling for castration of members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team.

Hopefully, academic freedom and freedom of speech will not be manipulated to protect plagiarists from the reasonable consequences of plagiarism too. If it does, then making outrageous statements will be the clever thing for plagiarists to do.

University of Colorado President Hank Brown on the decision to fire Ward Churchill for plagiarism: "This case was an example not of mistakes, but an effort to falsify history and fabricate history and in the final analysis, this individual did not express regret or apologize. This is a faculty that has an outstanding reputation and this move today protects that reputation."

Mr. Churchill and his attorney hope to convince a court to reinstate Mr. Churchill, on the theory that his outrageous public statements somehow protect him from plagiarism punishment.

If only Mr. Churchill had been hired by Duke and joined the 88ers, he'd had been secure.


Ward LeRoy Churchill (born October 2, 1947) is an American writer, Vietnam veteran and political activist. He is a former professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, who was widely discussed and criticized in the mass media in 2005, for a 2001 essay in which he questioned the innocence of many of the people killed in the World Trade Center attacks, labeling them as "technocrats" and "little Eichmanns." He has "decided to publish largely in alternative presses or journals, not in the university presses or mainstream peer-reviewed journals often favored by more conventional academics." In addition to his academic writing, Churchill has written for several general readership magazines of political opinion. His work is primarily about the U.S. and its historical treatment of political dissenters and of American Indian peoples.

Following the controversy around his 2001 essay, the University of Colorado stated support for Churchill's right to engage in controversial political speech. Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano stated, ""While Professor Churchill has the constitutional right to express his political views, his essay on 9/11 has outraged and appalled us and the general public." After an investigation of Churchill's past research, the University's Standing Committee on Research Misconduct recommended Churchill be sanctioned for repeated acts of "serious research misconduct."

On July 24, 2007, he was fired from his position for academic misconduct including plagiarism]. Some observers infer that the investigation and these actions are in retaliation for Churchill's controversial statements about the World Trade Center attacks because it began in the midst of national media coverage of his statements. Other observers note that Churchill was accused of “misrepresentations” and “fabrications” in scholarly journals years before he wrote his 9/11 essay. University of Colorado officials pointed out that while accusations against Churchill had been published as early as the 1990s, no one ever filed a complaint of research misconduct with the university until 2005. The University has upheld Churchill's right to academic freedom of speech, and pointed out that they were compelled to address the new charges of research misconduct that came to light during the controversy over Churchill's remarks about the 9/11 victims. Churchill plans a lawsuit to challenge his firing.

Naturally, he'd prefer to pose as the victim instead of a vile man.

The bold decision to terminate Mr. Churchill's employment was made after the ACLU and ACLU of Colorado urged the University of Colorado Board of Regents not to fire him.

ACLU release on July 19, 2007

In an open letter to the University of Colorado Board of Regents released today, the ACLU and the ACLU of Colorado urged the Board to reject the recommendation of CU President Hank Brown to terminate Professor Ward Churchill. President Brown’s decision ran counter to the majority of the Appeals Panel of the Privilege and Tenure Committee, which concluded that dismissal was not warranted.

National ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero (of the ACLU) and Cathryn Hazouri, Executive Director of the ACLU of Colorado noted the highly charged political nature of the public uproar over Professor Churchill’s essay about the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. They stated that the “poisoned atmosphere in which this investigation was launched…[has] irretrievably tainted the process. The investigation of Professor Churchill’s scholarship cannot be separated from the indefensible lynch-mob furor that generated the initial calls for his termination.”

“The cure for unpopular speech is public debate,” says Hazouri, “not silencing a voice you don’t want to hear. Professor Churchill’s critics didn’t call for an investigation; they called for him to be fired. When those critics include the Governor and politicians with influence over the University budget, it’s impossible to conduct an impartial investigation.”

The letter warns that firing Professor Churchill over the results of an investigation triggered by his unpopular views which are clearly protected by the First Amendment creates a dangerous precedent when it comes to repressing academic freedom and chilling public debate.


To the members of the University of Colorado Board of Regents:

Later this month, the Board of Regents will meet to consider a recommendation, made by University of Colorado President Hank Brown, that Professor Ward Churchill’s employment be terminated.

We write on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union—an organization long dedicated to preserving the principles of the First Amendment and academic freedom—to urge you to reject this recommendation.

The investigation of Professor Churchill’s scholarship is the result of widespread publicity in early 2005 about certain unpopular views Professor Churchill expressed several years earlier in an essay about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Prominent public officials, including members of the legislature and the then-Governor of Colorado, quickly called for Professor Churchill’s termination. The Board of Regents called an emergency meeting, at which the Chancellor announced his plan for an immediate investigation of all of Professor Churchill’s writing and speeches to determine whether they provided any grounds for dismissal.

It is undisputed, however, that Professor Churchill’s views are protected by the First Amendment and cannot serve as a legal basis for any adverse employment action. Nevertheless, the University soon launched the investigation of Professor Churchill’s scholarship in an effort to find more defensible grounds for sanctioning him.

The investigative committee found six charges of research misconduct to be sustained. The Appeals Panel of the Privilege and Tenure Committee concluded that only three of those were valid. Only one member of the five-member investigative committee believed that dismissal was an appropriate sanction, and a majority of the appeals panel concluded that termination was not warranted. Despite these conclusions, the University President has recommended termination, thus urging the same result as the elected officials who publicly called for Professor Churchill’s termination in 2005. The current Governor of Colorado has now added his voice to those clamoring for Professor Churchill to be fired.

We believe the poisoned atmosphere in which this investigation was launched, and the circumstances under which it was initiated, have irretrievably tainted the process. The investigation of Professor Churchill’s scholarship cannot be separated from the indefensible lynch-mob furor that generated the initial calls for his termination. Firing Professor Churchill in these circumstances does not send a message about academic rigor and standards of professional integrity. On the contrary, it sends a warning to the academic community that politically unpopular dissenters speak out at their peril.

Accepting President Brown’s recommendation in these circumstances poses too great a risk that other members of the academic community will respond by choosing to silence themselves or temper the public expression of their views out of fear that they, too, will be subjected to detailed fishing expeditions and censure. Such a result not only undermines academic freedom, it also diminishes the range and breadth of public debate that is vital to a flourishing democracy. We urge you to reject President Brown’s recommendation.

Fortunately, eight out of nine rejected the ACLU recommendation.

One poster's opinion: "Will the Duke administration and 'gang of 88' ever be held accountable for their despicable behavior during and after the non-rape circus? Doubtful! Duke has already bought and paid for silence. Residual interest in pursuing atonement has gone the way of extinction. And that’s precisely why Duke will continue on its merry left-wing-way. Let’s face it, political correctness has a firm stranglehold on Duke as well as most other universities. It took decades for the radical left to engrain itself into the mainstream of universities. What will it take to undo the damages? Apparently much more than a single incident that exposed the hate mongers for what they really are."

With the Dowd family having confidentially settled an egregious punitive grading suit without even a deposition of perennial visiting professor Kim Curtis, much less a trial, and the families of the three indicted players having settled quietly without even filing a complaint, and Duke having gotten an extra year of eligibility for all the players who did not graduate in 2006, will the families with important causes of action against Duke pursue them publicly, in the best interests of a society infected with the disease of extreme political correctness, or line up to take what Duke is willing to pay for them to quietly go away?

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to,,, and and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is

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