August 03, 2007

Cindy Carlisle Explains Dissenting Churchill Vote

CU Regent and Democrat Cindy Carlisle explains her lone dissenting vote as "deference" to the Privilege and Tenure Committee:
The sole University of Colorado Board of Regents member to vote against firing a professor who compared some Sept. 11 victims to a Nazi said she followed the recommendation of a faculty committee, which suggested suspension.

Regent Cindy Carlisle told the Summit Daily News for its Friday edition that the Privilege and Tenure Committee had voted 3-2 to suspend former ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill for one year and demote him. CU President Hank Brown recommended Churchill be fired.

"I thought that they were the reviewing body who had the most at stake in terms of reviewing this," Carlisle said when contacted while on vacation in Hawaii. "They're active faculty. They're upholding the reputation of everything. They do the research, the teaching, the everything. I thought they would be in the best position to judge what the outcome should be."

Summit County Republicans criticized Carlisle for being the only regent to vote no in an 8-1 decision July 24 to fire Churchill for research misconduct, that included allegations of fabrication, falsification and plagiarism

Carlisle is a Democrat who represents Summit, Eagle, Grand, Clear Creek, Gilpin and Boulder counties.

In a follow-up letter on the issue, Carlisle said the reasons for her vote were "institutional." "As the case presented purely academic issues, I believed respect for faculty governance was of overriding importance. Plus, the work of the Privilege and Tenure Committee was extremely impressive both hard-hitting and fair and entitled to deference," she wrote.
Whether out of respect for the academics' recommendations or an attempt to shift responsibility away from herself, we can't help but feel that Carlisle's vote was calculated to bring her sympathy as a lone voice for free speech, and provide token "credibility" to the Regents' vote--for the Churchill-types, that is.

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