Historians Against the War

HAW Statement on Ward Churchill

February 16, 2005

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Historians Against the War (HAW) deplores the current effort by the Governor of Colorado and some members of the University of Colorado's Board of Regents to dismiss Prof. Ward Churchill, apparently for an essay that Prof. Churchill wrote regarding the attacks of September 11, 2001.

One of the missions of Historians Against the War is to raise awareness of, and resist, threats to academic freedom. We see these threats as part of a larger assault on civil liberties at home that has accompanied the Bush administration's war in Iraq and larger "War on Terror." In response to these threats, HAW has authored resolutions endorsed by both the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians affirming the need for free speech and open debate and rejecting efforts to stifle it. We feel that the current campaign against Prof. Churchill is just such an effort, and is part of a larger campaign to silence dissent within and outside the academy.

HAW defends Prof. Churchill's right as a citizen and a member of his university community to speak his mind on issues of public concern without endangering his employment. This right is a fundamental part of academic freedom. The vigorous exercise of this right, whether or not one agrees with a particular speaker's sentiments, is the keystone of our educational and political systems.

On February 3, following a meeting of the University of Colorado's Board of Regents, interim chancellor of the Boulder campus Phil DiStefano announced that an investigation of Churchill's "writings, speeches, tape recordings and other works" would soon commence to determine whether or not they "overstepped his bounds as a faculty member, showing cause for dismissal."

HAW believes that the very notion that the opinions expressed in a faculty member's works might constitute grounds for dismissal constitutes a form of McCarthyism. We ask the Chancellor and Regents to immediately shut down this "investigation." And we urge our members to contact the following officials, to politely, but firmly express their views on this matter.

30 Day Review Board:

Phil DiStefano Interim Chancellor
17 UCB, Regent 301 Boulder, CO, 80309
(303) 492-8908

David Getches Law Dean University of Colorado School of Law
208 Fleming Law Building, 401 UCB Boulder, CO 80309
(303) 492-4475

Todd. T. Gleeson Arts & Sciences Dean
275 UCB, College of Arts & Sciences Boulder, CO 80309
(303) 492-3106
(303) 492-7294 fax (303) 492-4009

University of Colorado System President

Elizabeth Hoffman
35 SYS, Office of the President Boulder, CO 80309
(303) 492-6201

Board of Regents

Jerry G. Rutledge, Chair
2745 Springmede Court Colorado Springs, CO 80906-3716
(719) 527-8868 fax (719) 632-7694

Gail Schwartz, Vice Chair P.O. Box 6578 Snowmass Village, CO
(970) 925-3013 fax (970) 544-4632

Steve Bosley P.O. Box 270509 Louisville, CO 80027
(303) 604-2313 fax (303) 604-2313

Cindy Carlisle
411 Spruce Street Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 444-2606 fax 303-444-0057

Michael Carrigan
555 Seventeenth Street, Suite 3200 Denver, CO 80202
(303)-295-8314 fax (303) 975-5489

Patricia Hayes
12575 East Bates Circle Aurora, CO 80014
(303) 369-0054 fax (303) 740-8409

Tom Lucero P.O. Box 921 Johnstown, CO 80534
(970) 978-1142 fax (970) 587-0920)

Paul Schauer
7255 South Jackson Court Centennial, CO 80122
(303) 770-3872

Peter Steinhauer
7492 Spring Drive Boulder, CO 80303
(303) 499-1278 fax (303) 543-2351