As the Village Turns 

Turmoil and chaos at CU -- at last

click to enlarge C.U. Professor Ward Churchill is the cause of - unspeakable outrage.
  • C.U. Professor Ward Churchill is the cause of unspeakable outrage.

I've received "inside information" concerning the disciplinary action planned by administrators at the University of Colorado against that whacky, longhaired professor of theirs, Ward Churchill. The school will make the formal announcement tomorrow, but here are the main components:

The disciplinary action will be consistent with CU policy in cases dealing with troublemakers at the school.

It will involve the entire CU football team (motto: "Me Must Hump Something") getting drunk and having its way with a startled professor Churchill even though the professor tells them "no." A lot.

The next day, football coach Gary "Mr. Sensitive" Barnett will read a carefully prepared statement that someone else typed because he cannot. The statement will say that not only was Churchill a "terrible professor, just terrible," but that he also "looks like a girl" and that none of his football players molested the professor but if they did he probably deserved it. Also, if he didn't want to be on the bottom of a pile of drunken, naked football players who have misplaced their necks he should be teaching at Harvard or Stanford where the football players are, in subtle ways, different than CU's players -- in the sense that Harvard and Stanford players A) actually go to class and B) don't kill huge, hairy animals by poking them with sharp sticks until they fall off a cliff or into a tar pit.

Then Barnett, always concerned about others, will advise Churchill that if he really wants to keep his job at CU it wouldn't hurt to slip a $10,000 check to one of his bosses, such as CU Regent and Colorado Springs clothing store owner Jerry Rutledge. Barnett will go on to tell Churchill that if anyone finds out about the $10,000, like a reporter from one of the Denver newspapers, tell them the money was for Rutledge's clothing store gift certificates that he gave to his assistant coaches, and also tell them they should mind their own $%^&*# business.

Took nearly four years

Churchill, as you know, wrote an academic-type paper in 2001 concerning the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Professors do this kind of thing all the time, in part to convey their highly intellectual view on things but mostly to keep themselves in line for another government research grant check. (Those leather elbow patches professors like to sew onto their tattered, flea-infested 1970s sports jackets aren't cheap.)

But Churchill's paper, which was so well written and so astoundingly interesting that it apparently took nearly four years for anyone to bother to read it, has now created the kind of turmoil, chaos and unspeakable outrage among Coloradans that is rivaled only by that dark day in November of 1999 when, on the same day, Breckenridge and Monarch both announced $6 increases in lift ticket prices.

This week, a committee of CU professors and administrators is meeting to decide whether or not to fire Churchill because of the paper he wrote. Because nothing ticks us off quite like someone saying something we disagree with. This belief is even more poignant today, as our brave men and women in the armed forces are far from home in Iraq, fighting for something or other.

Look at me!

Here's some recent background on our fine state-sponsored institution in Boulder:

A female kicker on the football team says she was raped by her teammates. Nothing happens.

The football coach goes on national television and, asked to respond to the rape allegations, says the female kicker was terrible and also points out that she "was a girl." Nothing happens.

The same female kicker claims her football teammates referred to her by the C-word. CU president Betsy Hoffman testifies that she believes the highly derogatory word can be used as a "term of endearment." Nothing happens.

A week ago a Denver newspaper reveals documents showing that the administration of the university spent more than $500,000 on alcohol during the past five years, alcohol guzzled at hundreds of university-sponsored cocktail parties. Nothing happens.

But along comes Ward Churchill and his -- and here is my opinion -- goofy, look-at-me dissertation about the World Trade Center and the victims of the attacks, and suddenly good ol' CU is tripping over itself to do the right thing.

(As I understand it, this highly educated committee can decide to fire Churchill or have him dunked repeatedly into a big tank of water until he either drowns or promises that he'll never again cook anything in a cauldron if the recipe involves an eye of newt or wing of bat.)

Even our village's very own highly esteemed state representative, Dave Shultheis (R-FocusontheFamily), who is to intellectual thinking what a long trumpet solo is to carp fishing, got involved. Schultheis led a General Assembly resolution denouncing Churchill.

Former Supreme Court Justice William Douglas was a wise man. He sat on the bench during our nation's infamous McCarthy era, when politicians and newspapers tried to smoke out the subversives, or "commies" -- people who had dared to speak out against American policy.

Here's what Douglas said: "Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."

Which makes me want to borrow a phrase that has long echoed from the hallowed halls of the University of Colorado administration building:

I'll drink to that!

-- Listen to Rich Tosches Thursday mornings on the Coffey and Alisha Show on KVUU-FM, 99.9.


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