[Marxism] Ward Churchill case

Stephen Homick clio at sover.net
Tue Jul 25 16:40:17 MDT 2006

What's all the whining and snarling apropos of Churchill, tenure and 
the like about, anyway? That grubby gaggle of untenured temps, who must 
grovel in abject humility before inquisitorial "search committees," eat 
dirt and lick the members' boots, if not their asses,  for the 
"privilege" of teaching at pay which struggles desperately to rise to 
the level of the minimum wage in the U.S., should suffice to convince 
any reasonably aware person that when it comes to stacking the deck and 
loading the dice, the Groves of Academe are more than capable of giving 
the most crooked casino in Vegas a run for its money.

Likewise, with high hokum hypocrisy at the end of each semester or 
school year, many of the same pedagogical pooh-bahs summarily shit-can 
a number of these temps, either for not having made the cut in the 
student satisfaction survey sweepstakes, for painting the chair's roses 
the wrong color or whatever they may see fit to contrive. These 
academic autos de fe, staged with more than enough solemnity and 
gravitas to make even Tommy the terrible Torquemada raise a jealous 
eyebrow, are meant additionally to furnish proof positive of a 
department's or school's high standards of achievement and "academic 

Yet, what happened when couple of gum-shoed reporters a well-known bean-
town daily smoked out "G.I. Joe" Ellis a few years back.?  Some may 
recall that the newshounds dug up the scandalous fact that this 
erstwhile shimmering icon of scholarly excellence had habitually larded 
his lectures on the Vietnam war with Vietnam war stories, over a 
distinguished teaching career that spanned a couple decades at one of 
those cushy, $40k-a year Ivy League filly farms, nestled away in 
Academic Valley, Mass. His deed was such an outrage that a few 
scholars, by no means less distinguished, demanded publicly that he 
show good judgment and moral backbone by resigning; or that if he 
failed to carry out that duty, the school which lavished an endowed 
chair on G.I. Joe shit-can him immediately.

As things turned out--expectedly, it should be said--the now infamous 
raconteur of Vietnam war stories wound up getting what amounted to a 
soft, kid-gloved slap on the wrist: the loss of his endowed chair, a 
year's suspension without pay; but a guaranteed reappointment, 
resumption of pay & benes, as well as a return to teaching once the 
suspension's term was up. Meantime, customary shit-canning of temps 
proceeded apace, not a few of its sacrificial victims tossed out on 
their ass for petty misdemeanors compared to G.I. Joe's transgression.

In the face of this sort of brazen, shameless duplicity and favoritism, 
what reason would anyone have to defend academic tenure? It's long past 
time for the wardens and custodians of the Groves of Academe to prune 
the dead limbs and clear away the rotting underbrush. But surely that 
felicitous turn of events won't ever come to pass--for those entrusted 
with their upkeep understandably benefit most from the status quo, 
regardless of whether they stand to the right or left of, or are 
perched on, the political fence.

S. Homick

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.1.394 / Virus Database: 268.10.4/399 - Release Date: 7/25/2006

More information about the Marxism mailing list