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View Diary: Ward Churchill wins lawsuit against Colorado (177 comments)

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  •  And the jury was WRONG (1+ / 0-)
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    It's not like any of this trial was conducted in secret. It has been widely reported in the press. For those of us who are academics, it's been covered in trade publications like Chronicle of Higher Ed and for years. The facts of the case are well known.

    •  Since you know the case well (0+ / 0-)

      what do you think compelled the jury to find the university guilty of wrongful termination?

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Thu Apr 02, 2009 at 07:33:07 PM PDT

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      •  I'm mystified but (0+ / 0-)

        my best guess is that the jury either (a) didn't understand the rules regarding plagiarism, or (b) thought, like some of the people posting on this diary, that making controversial and unpopular statements someone gives you carte blanche to commit serious academic fraud without consequence.

        •  I don't think anyone is arguing (b); (1+ / 0-)
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          I think people are arguing that the university's investigation was linked to the controversy, because of the pressure from the governor to fire him for any reason whatsoever.  I do understand that the investigation was motivated by accusations from other academics, but something about the timing must have convinced the jury that it didn't pass the smell test.

          It's too bad a jury trial isn't like a SCOTUS decision where we can read the decision.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Thu Apr 02, 2009 at 07:39:34 PM PDT

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          •  How is that different from (b)? (0+ / 0-)

            Clearly, the accusations (some of which had been raised in the past without anyone following up) got more attention because of the controversy. But so what?

            If I understand the position of those who are celebrating the jury's outrageous decision, they wouldn't object to the dismissal of a non-controversial researcher for confirmed plagiarism or falsification (say, a scientist who fabricates data).

            But they object to Churchill's firing for confirmed plagiarism and falsification because it happened not too long after he made controversial comments.

            So how is that different from saying that people who make controversial comments are immune from investigation or punishment for academic misconduct, at least for some unspecified period of time after the controversy? I don't get it. It's the same thing. It's (b).

            •  It's different from the legal perspective (1+ / 0-)
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              if you can link the investigation to the political motivation for it.  I'm not saying they are linked - I'm saying the jury decided, based on whatever evidence, that there was sufficient reason to consider them so.

              It's not the same as your (b), which is a straw man: no one suggests that Churchill should be given carte blanche for anything - but once the university president knew that there was a hit on Churchill's career, she needed to take every possible precaution to prevent the two from being linked.

              Did she try?  Sure.  But this became a powder keg of a situation from the moment she got the phone call to fire him.  

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Thu Apr 02, 2009 at 07:57:35 PM PDT

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              •  So you're saying (2+ / 0-)
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                jrooth, pico

                it's like the exclusionary rule that says evidence obtained in violation of 4th amendment rights can't be introduced at trial? If so, sorry, but I hadn't understood before that was what you meant.

                It's an interesting point, but I don't think it applies. Academic tenure is not a constitutional right. If you commit academic misconduct, you forfeit any claim to academic freedom, whereas you don't forfeit your constitutional rights when you commit a crime.

                So I'm aware of no legal principle or academic principle that says that you can't be punished for academic misconduct if the misconduct came to light because of a politically motivated investigation.

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