Workers Vanguard No. 873

7 July 2006


Hands Off Ward Churchill


(Young Spartacus Pages)

We print below a June 19 protest letter in defense of Professor Ward Churchill sent by the New York Spartacus Youth Club to the interim chancellor of the University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder and to the CU Board of Regents. On June 26, Interim Chancellor Philip DiStefano announced his decision to fire Professor Churchill, who has ten days to appeal the decision to a faculty committee.

We protest the transparent political witchhunt being carried out against Professor Ward Churchill by the University of Colorado under the guise of an investigation into charges of “academic misconduct.” As Professor Churchill noted: “The May 9, 2006 Report of the University of Colorado (CU) Investigative Committee is but the latest step in CU’s ongoing attempt to fire me for political speech and, more fundamentally, for scholarship which challenges the orthodox ‘canon’ of historical truth” (“Summary of Fallacies in the University of Colorado Investigative Committee Report of May 9, 2006,” May 20). Professor Churchill now faces dismissal or suspension as per the June 13 recommendations of the standing committee established by CU. We demand that there be no sanctions against Professor Churchill as the result of this ludicrous “investigation”!

The witchhunt of Professor Churchill has been engineered by right-wing forces that brook no opposition to the crimes of the U.S. capitalist rulers. Leading the charge are racist ideologue David Horowitz and his McCarthyite minions who seek to purge leftists and liberals from the campuses. These forces revile Professor Churchill for his views and for the political content of his scholarship, which includes powerful exposures of state-sponsored terror from the genocidal treatment of Native Americans to the bloody repression carried out against black, leftist and Native American activists under the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. While no less than the Republican governor of Colorado has called on the university to fire Professor Churchill, the campus witchhunters’ purported campaign for “academic freedom” would be completely exposed if they were to call for firing Professor Churchill for his views. Thus, the “investigation” into “academic misconduct” provides a convenient, if threadbare, cover for a political witchhunt.

The campaign against Professor Churchill is designed not only to silence and discredit him for his political views, but also to intimidate others and chill dissent. This takes place in the context of the bipartisan “war on terror,” under which the U.S. rulers are carrying out bloody imperialist rampages in Afghanistan and Iraq and waging war on democratic rights at home in an effort to suppress the struggles of immigrants, black people, the labor movement and the left. This finds its expression on campus in the witchhunting of professors such as Ward Churchill. We demand: Hands off Professor Churchill!