Ward Churchill Returns To Class, Bars Media; Scuffle Prompts Police Report
Photo by Joshua Lawton--Former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill tells a Camera reporter that media outlets are not allowed in an unsanctioned class called "ReVisioning American History" on the Boulder campus Tuesday night. Churchill is speaking at the weekly classes, organized by students.
Churchill elicited applause and handshakes from the majority of the 30 or so CU students and area residents who came to hear his lecture, which he titled "ReVisioning American History: Colonization, Genocide and Formation of the U.S. Settler State."Euphoria from only a majority? How did the other dissenting jackbooted thugs get in?
Churchill, who did not allow the Camera to attend the class, said the group would come up with various topics to discuss.
"I've been invited by people who are concerned with content of the mind," Churchill said.
"Content of the mind"? It's a good thing the class is free and without credit . . .
But Churchill's fawning admirers were quick to defend their beloved ex-professor:
Aaron Smith, a 24-year-old senior political science and ethnic studiesmajor, said he helped organize the class because he and other students wanted to hear what Churchill had to say.Most valuable in as far as bringing negative attention and notoriety to CU Boulder. Perhaps if Churchill had paid as much attention to creating professional scholarship as his shameless self-promotion, he would still be the chair of the Ethnic Studies department at CU, albeit an anti-American crank.
"We were deprived of his teaching," Smith said of the university's decision to fire Churchill, who taught American Indian studies. "He was one of the most valuable professors we've had on this campus."
Anyone--students, faculty, "area residents"--can check out Churchill's books for free from a library, but some just had to see the perfesser for themselves:
Tuesday's class, which student organizers said would likely continue for three weeks and then reconvene in the spring for a "second semester," is not sanctioned by the university. University spokesman Bronson Hilliard on Tuesday emphasized that Churchill was speaking at a "private event."A three week semester? So substance fits the time allotted?
The event drew the attendance of former Churchill students and those who had only heard his name before through media reports of his controversial tenure at CU.
"I'm coming into this very skeptical," said Russell Hedman, a 21-year-old senior political science major at CU. "I'm skeptical that there's something here that I'm missing — but I'm also coming into this with an open mind."
At least one faculty member at CU understands the concept of freedom of speech, unlike Churchill and his followers:
Kelly Tryba, a CU journalism instructor who was holding class next door to Churchill's lecture, was critical of Churchill for not allowing the Camera inside the classroom.And as a private event, those
"I think any student group should be able to rent out a room and have someone speak; but anyone should be able to go," she said. "The freedom of speech goes both ways."
Two men who identified themselves as event organizers turned away three male CU students at the door, calling them "agitators."Looks like the only thugs were inside the room with Churchill.
One of the men watching the door, who did not give his name, became physical with a Camera reporter who tried to enter the room — grabbing his arm and pushing him — prompting a report to police.
**Update--a peek at Churchill's syllabus:
Churchill handed out a class syllabus, which includes scheduled classes to be held Oct. 9 about colonialism, Oct. 23 on genocide and Oct. 30 about racism.I'm . . . shocked!
A Churchill advocate offers an "alternative" explanation of last night's event.