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Punishing Free Speech

A Travesty of an "Investigation"

by WARD CHURCHILL

I have received the report of the Investigative Committee of the University of Colorado and consider it a travesty. This "investigation" has all along been a pretext to punish me for engaging constitutionally-protected speech and, more generally, to discredit the sorts of alternative historical perspective I represent.

There is blatant conflict of interest involved. Interim Chancellor DiStefano, who has consistently and publicly declared his bias against me, has served from the outset as both "complainant" and judge.

Despite my repeated requests for an investigation conducted by unbiased experts, the committee was composed primarily of CU insiders. Although both were available and willing to serve, the investigative panel included neither American Indian scholars nor persons competent in American Indian Studies.

To all appearances the committee was composed with an eye toward precluding the involvement of individuals knowledgeable in my discipline, as well as the context of indigenous history and belief that I have quite consistently brought to bear in my scholarship.

As a result, it was necessary to devote much of the 120-day investigative period, not to examining "the facts" at issue in my case, but to acquainting the committee with some of the most rudimentary procedures employed in American Indian Studies. Had qualified individuals been included on the panel, this preemption of my ability to respond to substantive matters would not have occurred.

Although the rules allow for extensions of the "deadline" for reporting, and despite the fact that I repeatedly requested an additional 30 days in which to formulate adequate responses to the highly complex and steadily-changing questions posed by the committee, the committee declined to allow any extension whatsoever.

The upshot is that the committee’s report is often self-contradictory. It frequently misrepresents or conflicts with the evidence presented. In many respects, it is patently false.

As things stand, the entire procedure appears to be little more than a carefully-orchestrated effort to cast an aura of legitimacy over an entirely illegitimate set of predetermined outcomes.

It follows that I reject and will vigorously contest each and every finding of misconduct.