Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center
To: Regents of the University of Colorado
Statement in Support of Ward Churchill's
Standing as a Tenured Faculty
Member of the University of Colorado
President Elizabeth Hoffman
Interim Chancellor Philip DiStefano
Date: February 2, 2005
We, the members of the Spokescouncil of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice
Center, write to support Professor Ward Churchill and his constitutional
right to free speech. Rooted in a commitment to unconditional nonviolence,
the Peace and Justice Center works to create a culture of justice and peace.
The Spokescouncil is our governing body, equivalent to a board of trustees.
Mindful of the controversy that now surrounds Professor Ward Churchill because
of a statement he wrote immediately after the destruction of the World Trade
Center on September 11, 2001, we wish to make the following observations:
The right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
is essential to the very character of the freedom celebrated by the people
of our country.
It is better to protect this crucial freedom than to vitiate it by punishing
anyone for what he or she has said.
Words, however unpalatable, do not kill; deeds kill.
THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITIES
Universities exist to discover truth by exploring the whole range of human
thought and action.
The search for truth knows no bounds; to sever a limb because it offends
desecrates the body of truth.
The way to ferret out untruth is hold it to the light and to examine it from
Tenure is a practical necessity that helps ensure that all points of view,
the unpopular as well as the popular, are examined.
The University of Colorado has a distinct responsibility to be open to the
painful as well as the heroic and laudable aspects of Colorado history, among
them slaughter of Native People and a war in which the U.S. seized half the
territory of a neighboring country (Mexico) and carved from this mass a portion
of what is now the State of Colorado.
The university also has an obligation to the students and the citizens of
Colorado to seek to understand the reasons people of other lands might be
angered by our policies and feel obliged to strike back at us.
THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN PEACE & JUSTICE CENTER AND WARD CHURCHILL
We at the Peace and Justice Center have learned much from both the spoken
and written words of Professor Churchill.
He has been for us a teacher regarding especially the history of the Native
People in what is now the United States but also the history of human rights
abuses in our own country.
He has challenged the Peace and Justice Center and enabled us to clarify
our views and to strengthen our resolve.
He has helped us gain a critical perspective on the behavior of our own government.
While his words at times may seem ill chosen, even distasteful, he is not
wrong in pointing out that the economic, political, ecological, and military
behavior of the United States has created enemies who will search for opportunities
to attack us.
Accordingly, we call on the Regents of the University of Colorado to treat
Professor Ward Churchill as a human being gifted in this land of ours with
the right to free speech and recognized in this university as a tenured professor
whose views need to be examined, challenged, and carefully considered in
the quest for truth that is most truly the vocation of the University of
Spokescouncil, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center
|Jorge De Santiago