This week’s question for the Homespun Bloggers’ Homespun Symposium XV comes from yours truly:
Harvard University president Lawrence Summers has been criticized, and may have jeopardized his job, for stating that the gender gap in the sciences and engineering may be due to inherent differences in the way men and women think.
Meanwhile, Colorado University is weighing a possible buyout offer to professor Ward Churchill in the wake of his condemnation of the World Trade Center victims on 9/11 as “Little Eichmanns”. The university, apparently fearing an expensive lawsuit, is hesitant to fire Churchill, who has been denounced for years by Native American groups for falsely claiming Indian heritage and recently exposed by Michelle Malkin and others for passing off the works of others as original art.
Should these men be protected for exercising their rights of free speech? Does an employer have the right to terminate an employee for statements that are contrary to the employer’s beliefs? Are these cases similar?
I probably couldn’t have come up with a more slanted question if my name was Jeff Gannon.
Summers and Churchill are perfect examples of political correctness run wild. Summers is taking heat for daring to state the obvious: Women and men are different. As near as I can tell, he didn’t intend his statement as a slight.
While there are actual scientific studies to back this up, any parent can tell you the same thing. Asserting that the sexes are the same is silly. And I’m glad for it! I’d say vive la difference, but I’m still cheesed at the French.
Churchill, on the other hand, is a jerk. That’s no law against being a jerk, and most jerks eventually get what’s coming to them. It’s usually a self-correcting condition, at least if it happens at a young enough age that the jerk is still teachable. Somebody bigger pops the jerk in the nose, and the jerk learns to keep his mouth shut when he’s tempted to call somebody’s dead relative a Nazi.
Sadly, Ward Churchill is long past that age. He has, like the sleazy professor played by Donald Sutherland in Animal House, managed to dazzle enough impressionable young minds with his slovenly-cool style of dress (and thinking) that he’s become virtually untouchable by his employers.
That’s not entirely a bad thing. While Churchill is an idiot, he has the right to be one in America. While I am offended by his remarks, I have no constitutional protection against being offended. That’s normally a position taken by left-liberals–like those who are steamed at Larry Summers.
However, Churchill’s art scam should be a firing offense. And it puzzles me that the CU administration has kept him around when his phony Native American heritage has been public knowledge for years.
In short, CU should have the right to fire Ward Churchill, tenure or no, but not for his boorish and insulting opinions. They should fire him for being a fraud.