Source URL: http://www.denverpost.com/newsheadlines/ci_11977426
Judge Naves has excused the jury for the day. They will reconvene tomorrow at 9 a.m.and Churchill will resume his testimony.
Churchill is testifying about allegations that he falsified research that the U.S. Army had infected the Mandan Indians with smallpox infected blankets. The allegation was made because he footnoted a book by UCLA professor Russell Thornton in one of his essays on the topic that did not contain the information.
"The purpose of the footnote is to provide more information," he said. "There was additional information I could have cited, but did not find it necessary."
On smallpox being introduced to the Indians by the Army:
"I've been hearing this all my life from traditional sources and mainstream sources. It's enshrined in songs and oral traditions specific to the Mandan," Churchill said.
Churchill said he's attended several speaking engagements since the misconduct allegations arose and people are stunned when he tells them that he is accused of making up facts about smallpox being introduced by the Army, something he considers common knowledge.
Churchill discussed an allegation that he had plagiarized a portion of Canadian professor Fay Cohen's essay on American Indian fishing rights. Churchill acknowledged that it appears Cohen was plagiarized in the essay, but he said he did not write the essay and was merely an editor of the piece.
"I was a copy editor, essentially," Churchill said.
"Did you tell that to the committee?" Lane asked
"I tried to," he said.
"They ignored you, essentially," Lane asked.
"I believe so," Churchill said.
"Did you plagiarize Fay Cohen?" Lane asked
"No, I did not," Churchill said.
Churchill is discussing why he resigned in 2005 as chair of the ethnic studies department.
"If you had not done anything wrong, then why resign?" Lane asked.
"The nature of the publicity, the developing circumstance of media frenzy which was bound to distract me from dealing with things as chair," Churchill said.
Court is back in session
Judge Naves has called a recess for 15 minute afternoon break.
"If the country wanted to avoid a repeat performance, maybe they should stop doing what it was that prompted the attack in the first place."
Churchill said people did not understand that Eichmann was a "bureaucrat, a desk murderer" and his mistake was assuming people understood Eichmann's role when they read the essay.
"When you bring your skills to bear for profit for yourself and your clients, you are the moral equivelant of Adolf Eichmann," Churchill said. "He never killed anyone, but without him the killing would have taken a very different or inefficient form."
Churchill is putting the meaning of his 9/11 essay in context for the jury. "I am not in favor of terror," he said.
Lane asked Churchill about awards he has won.
Churchill responded that he won the President's University Services Award from CU.
"What year was that?" Lane asked.
"1987, but I don't want to be called on research misconduct if the year is wrong" Churchill said, inspiring laughter from the courtroom audience.
"Do you wish to be called Prof. Churchill?" his attorney David Lane asked. "I prefer professor, but doctor will do," Churchill said
Ward Churchill is now on the stand
Russell Means, facilitator of the Republic of Lakota, is now on the stand testifying on behalf of Churchill. He's known Churchill for years and wrote a chapter in one of his books and also served in the American Indian Movement together.
Means testified Churchill is "writing the wrongs of history — literally."
Means choked up on the witness stand and said "to take a small phrase and besmirch him and try to ruin his reputation among the people who know what he writes. It is a scholarly massacre — it's what I call it. It's not right and it's full of holes...they do not treat white professors at CU the same way."
One of the five members of an investigative committee who looked into Ward Churchill's scholarship was a strong supporter of the ethnic studies professor and said today he would have resigned if he saw any evidence of unfair treatment.
Michael Radelet, the chair of the sociology department at the University of Colorado Boulder, testified this morning that when Churchill's conduct first came into question in 2005 he feared that he would be "railroaded." And Radelet joined other professors in writing an e-mail in support of Churchill's free speech rights.
But later, during his four months of work looking into Churchill's scholarship, he saw no unfair treatment, he testified as the controversial former ethnic studies professor continued his fight in a Denver courtroom to win back his job.
"We leaned over backward to give professor Churchill the benefit of the doubt, to give him all the due process we could, to give him a break where a break was needed," Radelet said. "I feel my work in prisons, with people who had been falsely accused, made me lean over even further."
Later, Radelet testified that he would have "blown the whistle, objected, raised hell and perhaps resigned from the committee" if anyone had been in "any way unfair" to Churchill during the four-month investigation. 2005
Churchill, long a controversial figure in the ethnic studies world, burst into the public consciousness in early 2005 just as he was to deliver a speech at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. The student newspaper, in an article about his talk, wrote about an obscure essay of his in which he referred to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as "Little Eichmanns" — a reference to an infamous Nazi.
Churchill came under fire, and his work underwent scrutiny it had not previously received. The university launched an investigation, and although it ultimately concluded that what he wrote about Sept. 11 was protected by the First Amendment it began a broader examination of his work.
The university ultimately fired Churchill in 2007 after a committee found that he had "committed serious, repeated and deliberate research misconduct." That committee concluded that Churchill's voluminous writings were rife with problems, that he plagiarized the work of others and fabricated some material.
Churchill filed suit, alleging that he was fired for the essay in a move that violated his free speech rights. The crux of his argument is that numerous complaints had been lodged over the years about his scholarship that were never investigated by the university; only after the essay generated controversy did CU officials look into his work.
Churchill is expected to testify, perhaps as soon as this afternoon.
Radelet, a witness for CU who testified out of order, was suggested by Churchill himself for the investigative committee.
But during his work on the committee, he concluded that Churchill committed numerous acts of academic misconduct.
Radelet himself examined one of Churchill's smallpox claims — that "strong circumstantial evidence" existed to show that explorer John Smith intentionally spread the disease among the Wampanoag tribe in the early 1600s. But when Radelet examined the book Churchill cited as a source he found nothing to back the claim, except that Smith was in New England and disliked Indians.
"We felt that allegations was simply made up, simply false," Radelet testified.
After more than an hour on the stand, Radelet faced cross-examination by David Lane, Churchill's lead attorney.
Lane attempted to show that Mimi Wesson, a CU law professor who headed the investigative committee was biased, pointing to an e-mail she wrote in which Lane said she referred to Churchill as "yet another celebrity wrongdoer the likes of Michael Jackson, O.J. Simpson and Bill Clinton."
Radelet said "no" when asked whether that showed bias, but Lane cut him off when he attempted to explain his answer.
Radelet did not back down on the question of whether Churchill could claim that his assertions about smallpox were merely opinion, arguing that claims that are footnoted should stand for something in the academic world. Lane also attempted to show that Churchill's statements about Smith and smallpox constituted only a few lines in a much larger 40-page essay, but Radelet disagreed with the assertion that it wasn't that big a deal.
"It is a big deal when a centerpiece of the theme of the essay is built on a false assertion," Radelet said.
That theme, he pointed out, was the systematic genocide perpetuated by Europeans and white Americans against American Indians. And he argued that Churchill's claims about Smith and smallpox were "girders" in his argument, and therefore important.
Radelet said by Churchill's way of thinking, he could be a suspect in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey because he was in Boulder in 1996 and he hated the Miss America Pageant.
"It's the same amount of evidence, the same amount of circumstantial evidence that the Boulder police have on me for killing JonBenet Ramsey," Radelet said.
Radelet also rejected Lane's argument that Churchill did not even need to use footnotes in his work.
In making a claim, "then you need to explain that, and the way you do that is by citation," Radelet said.
Later, under Lane's questioning, Radelet did acknowledge that the investigating committee had "concern" about the timing and motive of the investigation.