Defend Ward Churchill and Protect Academic Freedom

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To the Regents of the University of Colorado, Governor Bill Owens and the House of Representatives and the Senate of the State of Colorado:

We, the undersigned, vigorously oppose the efforts to fire, or otherwise remove, Professor Ward Churchill from the faculty of the University of Colorado.

The campaign to remove Churchill is an open call to persecute anyone who makes statements that some might consider anti-American, or who think thoughts deemed anti-American.

The media-driven frenzy to purge Churchill possesses all the hallmarks of a new McCarthyism, and represents a dangerous trend of intellectual intolerance across the nation and in the academy.

The moment is a reminder that many of our natural rights as enshrined in the Constitution of the United States are today in jeopardy under such onerous laws as the USA PATRIOT Act.

Now, the effort on the part of the CU Regents and the State of Colorado to remove Professor Churchill threatens to create the atmosphere for a new academic blacklist, which we find to be a chilling and wholly undemocratic development.

While the incidents of 9/11/01 are grave and to be taken seriously by all, the nation is by no means united as to their meaning. According to the Washington Post, a Zogby poll released late last summer said that 49 percent of New York City residents believed that national leaders "knew in advance that attacks were planned . . . and that they consciously failed to act." An even larger proportion of people of color in New York take this view.

We, the undersigned, say that neither New Yorkers nor Prof. Churchill should be labeled, harassed, or persecuted as traitors. The state and its representatives have no business purging academics for their beliefs and for the exercise of free speech.

Indeed, many of us concur with Professor Churchills views of the unjust occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan; others believe in freedom of speech, especially in the academy; others of us understand that the persecution, even the murder, of Native Americans and their most vocal defenders is a norm in American history, and feel grave concern for Professor Churchills physical well being; others of us oppose the persecution of those whose blood quantum doesnt meet the standards of modern day eugenicists.

And, yes, some of us agree, even strongly agree, with Professor Churchills analysis of US government acts of genocide against the children of Iraq, and with his assessments of technocrats in much of the U.S. corporate world.

Regardless of our motivations, all of the undersigned are united with a single voice in demanding an end to the persecution of Professor Ward Churchill. We insist that all efforts to remove him from the faculty of the University of Colorado cease immediately.