1. The spectacle of the academic-freedom debate transforms lives. Careers are at stake. In addition, conservative ideologues purposefully construct this kind of public discourse to radically reshape the academic community without the need for its proponents to actaully get involved in any form of scholarship.
What else, then, is there to say? What does bother me about this article?
2. Summary of the problem: The community and administration at the University of Colorado completely mishandled the recent football team fiasco. They bury it and continue to bury it with this spectacle. The Buffs were recruiting (topical, since the scholars are now worried about talent recruitment) players with sexual favors via local prostitutes. An employee claimed responsibility and took the fall, but we all know how this works. Sexual misconduct was (is?) a problem at the school, and the charges of rape and sexual misconduct are ongoing to this day. At the very least, we know CU and its football team cultivated the environment that permitted a violent attitude towards women, and several cases of sexual misconduct were the end result. We even have the coach, on record during a press conference, ridiculing a female teammate because "she's a girl." His cheap apology was accepted by the school.
Nevermind that such contempt, conscious or not, directed towards women in public statements only encourages further violence against women. Take it from an ex-jock, these knuckleheads worship their coach. If he laughs, they laugh. Now, we have a guy who compared dead Americans to little Eichmanns. Living individuals who are expected deal with a constant threat of violence because they're girls (thanks, coach) take priority over those who have died.
If you're taking offense via my priority: I am strongly opposed to forming a memorial to our culture's righteousness as a just response to the deaths of thousands in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the US.
3. To return to the issue at hand, The press should explore our policies and values. What purpose does ignoring gender-based hazing and sexual discrimination and misconduct serve? What is it about allegations of rape and abuse that CU recruitment goes unharmed? What is it about the years-old crass utterance of a scholar that is more timely? Many smart students skip CU because it is considered a party school, don't they?
Who says which issue is more important? Because you all know that the school is going to delay reviewing Churchill until the media circus moves on to another town and then they'll drop the whole thing. He simply has the right to make such statements.
4. Locals argue about freedom; The Post pushes the Academic-Freedom angle. How come this angle wasn't pushed when several women came forward with charges of rape? Instead of questioning practices at CU, the press questioned the credibility of the women.
5. Students who live with the threat of sexual harrassment are limited in their Academic Freedom. We're going to argue about Churchill? You want to call folks "little Eichmanns," you should live with the response. You come down the mountain and share your bits of wisdom, you need to handle the laughter and mocking. His colleagues will take care of him when his work is reviewed. If his rights are violated, then he will need to seek punitive and retributive damages in court.
6. How does a person live with sexual violation? What retribution is there?--especially when the community apparently cares less for an individual's rights than it does its popularity ratings.
7. So, people won't want to go to CU because the school fosters an environment where drinking, drugs, football, fucking, and censorship are priorities. Blaming Ward Churchill for the state of affairs at CU is like blaming George W Bush for the state of affairs in the US. You might not like the guys but they aren't the problem; they are only figments of its manifestation.
8. Here's what has to happen: 1) Fire CU's president; 2) Fire the football coach; 3) Apologize to the community for a general failure to promote civil discourse on and off campus; 4) Demand students accept responsibility for their illegal actions rather than offering them 2 strikes; 5) Encourage the local community to accept a share of the responsibility for the state of affairs at their school. Oh, and get Coors off campus. Why we allow alcohol companies to use our univeristy campuses to find their future loyal consumers is beyond me.
No4 is important. CU is our school; it is a state school. It belong to us. It does not exist for football; it does not exist for a few scholars; it exists to educate and promote democratic scholarship for everybody. Ward Churchill certainly has a place in such a community, whether or not we appreciate his POV. But we need to protect the rights of each citizen on campus. Academic-Freedom--who is it for, really? Hint: look who argues over IT...a specific kind of lay citizen and a specific kind of scholar.
9. All the talk about freedoms is banal. We treat university administrations like Businesses and campus communities like micro-markets. The public needs to figure out what interest universities serve--state schools do it differently than private schools, of course. In any case, those of us on the inside only stand to lose our jobs. It's tough.
10. I was extremely pissed off to see all of the students willing to put their bodies on the line for Ward Churchill. Did any of you see the emotional footage of students being physically dragged away in handcuffs? Heartbreaking: good for them. But: Where were they when the university simply dropped the ball on the investigation of the football team? Where were they when the press hung their fellow classmates out to dry (students, who felt isolated and abused, who complained of harrassment and assault)? [Oh, these weren't the right kind of girls. This is a whole 'nother issue, of course. For, if they were members of the indie-set, if they were "outsiders," then there would be more outrage.]
Where were the sit-ins, the boycotts of games, the protests outside of games.
Where were the flyer campaigns demanding action? Etc etc
11. Simply put: this Churchill thing is much more sexy for kids and scholars, pundits and administrators than the issue of "violence against women on American campuses." In fact, such violence is far too common and accepted/acceptable for the mainstream. Since a guy like Churchill pops up only once every decade or so, people want to get on board. They want to do the right thing when the cameras are on.
12. This is the dumping paragraph. You may choose to skip it and move right on to the following one. But I have to unload; I'm half-cocked as it is.
13. How about we seek a little justice in society. What would happen if we stepped behind that "veil of ignorance" John Rawls writes about and made our minds up in a joint session. Ward Churchill would be a has been and a nobody knew and these women and the thousands of others in similar situations each semester would be cared for appropriately. That is what would happen.
14. In this month of all months, we should be considering how we have a horrible habit of turning diverse cultures into monolithic races, powerful individuals into mock ideals for diverse communities. Churchill has had his opportunity and blown it--he could have led his colleagues and students in a radical charge against a growing fascist State, I would have gladly followed, but he chose to insult specific individuals in order to promote an emotional response. He went for the thrill; he joined the orgy. He is no leader.
Ward Churchill and David Horowitz actually make good bed-fellows. They are lames.
15. To recap, it's a gender issue: What makes it easier for folks to defend Churchill than to defend (and remain at the) defense of CU women bringing charges against the football team? Both may have been (and are still) demonized by the press; however, Churchill is offered a primary dignity the women in question are not. Where does (t)his dignity come from? Some might say the issue is a rights issue. Don't kid yourselves; it's a gender issue.
16. To conclude: on the ISA at work:The Post's Dave Curtin writes, "Many scholars say the investigation of Ward Churchill could have a chilling effect on attracting talent."
Gender and Politics aside, this is about folks looking out for their own. Allow me to generalize, to take a step back, and to posit: The ideological state apparatus (ISA) involved in this debate tends to turn the issue towards folks protecting their own.
(We do call it a political-lynching.)
Doesn't the ISA single out the radical elements in society and purposefully refine bad subjects to such an extent that their numbers appear too small to offer any real, potent, and consistent challenge to a status quo? We might call this a stasis-seeking-and-achieving ideological apparatus.
I am not going to participate in it. I am going to oppose it. I can oppose it by showing it working. And I am not going to align myself with Churchill in order to further individuate myself from others in society, as if I am able to be refined in that manner.
I am common. Dirt.
I accumulate. Mash-up.
I do not distinguish.
I run from no one.
I call you only by the name you call yourself.
We have to rewrite everything each time.