Motives of Churchill’s investigators irrelevant

The Daily Camera published my take on the Ward Churchill case last week:

For the sake of argument, what if Bernie Madoff’s sons had not informed authorities of his crimes because Madoff had not confessed to them? Instead, the person who discovered and exposed Madoff’s crimes was driven by, say, disgust at Madoff ‘s donations to political parties. Should this have any bearing on Madoff’s prison sentence? Of course not. A perpetrator should not enjoy impunity derived from ulterior motives that drove people to discover his wrong-doing. The same principle applies to Ward Churchill’s case.

The only relevant issue here is whether plagiarism and poor academic integrity are legitimate grounds for firing a professor. Whether or not Churchill is being “unfairly targeted” is a distraction. If fraudulent professors should be fired and the allegations against Ward Churchill are true, then his firing is justified. Admirable or not, the motives of those who investigated Churchill’s academic record do not matter.


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