Major Dad 1984

Cursed By A Classical Education

Let's just say that I intend to use this blog to blow off some steam that I might be feeling with the International/National media, my work situation, or maybe even to tee off on the family in a humorous way of course!


HomeSpun Blogger Symposium XV

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?

I guess I'm wondering what kind of protection they're expecting...they both most completely exercised their rights of free speech and are now reaping the harvest of sowing their seeds.

They're not being tried, sentenced and executed for speaking their minds...they're simply getting the kind of attention that they've grown accustomed to getting.

Bad taste and stupidity aren't against the law...but John Q. Public doesn't have to be expected to be happy with it either.

Does an employer have the right to terminate an employee for statements that are contrary to the employer's beliefs?

Hmmm. This is a good question, but I think it's a relatively easy one to answer.

As a federal employee, I don't have the same freedoms of speech that the average American worker does. Not to go into the particulars, but I would say that were I to engage in discussions that hinge upon gender, race, religion or sexual preference...I could be brought up on accusations of creating a hostile work environment. And for those actions, I'm sure I could be dismissed.

I believe that this is true of just about any employer. If an employee's speech interferes or runs contrary to the conduct of day to day business I think management has every right to terminate an employee.

As far as the two academians in the initial question go, one is working for a private institution...the other for a public institution.

In the case of Lawrence Summers, I believe he is pretty much at the mercy of Harvard's board of directors. As a private institution, I think they they can much more easily make him "go away" as a result of his bad judgement.

On the other hand, with Mr. Churchill...I believe that the issues will be somewhat sticky, but still surmountable. While the University of Colorado can't do much about the "Chickens Coming Home to Roost" essay, I think that they need to take a look at how Mr. Churchill was hired. If he has used his false claim of being a native American to his advantage to gain his position...I believe that the University could quite easily terminate him on the basis of his dishonesty. Another nail in the Churchill coffin could be the troubles with plagiarism that he's made in the past. Intellectual dishonesty and ethical troubles, coupled with his misrepresenting his background and heritage will be Mr. Churchill's undoing.

Are these cases similar?

I think they're similar, but if I were asked which man has committed the most grievous error in judgement, I'd have to vote for Ward Churchill, in spades.

As far as I'm concerned he's got at least three strikes against him. First, he lied and misrepresented himself to be something which he is not. Ward Churchill is NOT a Native American and is deserving of ANY consideration as a minority. Second, he's a documented plagiarist. While that doesn't seem to make a difference if you're a congressman (ask Joe Biden), in academia it should and does. Finally, Ward Churchill pulled the scab off of wounds that have hardly healed since 9/11/2001. Not only the wounds of those impacted by the attacks of that day...but also those incurred by the recent and ongoing military operations around the world. Mr. Churchill, you can say whatever it is that you want to, but I and millions of others like me would like to inform you that we don't have to take it lightly AND WE CERTAINLY WON'T.

Mr. Summers is simply guilty of not thinking before he engaged his mouth.

See you on the high ground!

And here is the rest of it.

Read the rest of the longer story!


At 6:55 AM, Blogger Jim said...

I'm not in the loop with either of these stories...will have to check them out.
Yeah I have to watch my ass too at work. I have no idea who the people coming in to dine are. Joe Lieberman's son could be sitting next to Jerry Falwell's son. Anything I say either way could offend the other. Being neutral and playing dumb is the only defense since it is my job to make them both happy.


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