FIGHT BACK! Freedom of Speech Under Attack
Reported by Marie Therese - February 1, 2005
This is a time-sensitive action alert! Bill O'Reilly has decided that Ward Churchill, a member of the Ethnic Studies faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Keetoowah Band Cherokee, MUST be fired. He has embarked on one of his infamous Factor jihads against a man whose only crime is that over two years ago he wrote a thought-provoking albeit radical essay that Mr. O believes is un-American.
The O'Reilly assault started Friday night and spilled over into last night's show. At the end of this article you will be asked to to take a few minutes to send some e-mails. The freepers have a head-start on this one so time is of the essence. It is vital that the Bloviating Billster doesn't wave his pudgy finger and - poof! - yet another American is fired for speaking his mind.
Here is the background on this story.
Last Friday O'Reilly aired a segment in which he brought this story to his viewers' attention. Hamilton College, a small liberal arts college in upstate New York, had contracted with Ward Churchill to speak. Several students - among them Matthew Coppo, who lost his father in the 9/11 attacks on the WTC - mounted an on-campus protest, citing the essay linked above as reason to cancel Prof. Churchill's lecture. The President of the College, Joan Hinde Stewart, refused. In light of the controversy, Churchill waived his usual $3500 speakers' fee. On Friday O'Reilly told his viewers to send letters of protest to the College.
This morning, Hamilton College announced it was canceling the lecture, citing DEATH THREATS against Ms. Stewart. She has been accompanied by bodyguard for several days. I blame Bill O'Reilly and FOX News for this. Although he asked his viewers to be civil in their correspondence with Hamilton College (so he cannot be sued by Ms. Stewart et al), he had to have known what kind of filth they would rain down on Ms. Stewart. [We at News Hounds have been on the receiving end of some pretty scurrilous right wing attacks, so we have some small idea of what Ms Stewart has been going through.)
This is not the end of the assault on Mr. Churchill. O'Reilly wants to get him fired from his tenured position in Colorado.
The Board of Regents of the University of Colorado at Boulder has called a Special Meeting on Thursday, February 3rd to discuss Mr. Churchill's fitness to remain as a tenured professor at the school The pressure has already caused him to resign his position as Chairman of the Department of Ethnic Studies.
A key agitator in all of this is one of his fellow professors, Paul Campos, who appeared on The O'Reilly Factor Monday night. Campos teaches law at the University and is the author of a book entitled "The Obesity Myth: Why American's Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health." From what I can glean online, Prof. Campos is a libertarian.
We News Hounds have discussed this among ourselves and decided that we cannot remain silent. Although we find the anti-semitic references in Mr. Churchill's essay to be unpalatable and offensive, we feel there is a larger issue here. And that is the freedom to speak, especially in an educational setting where open and free exchange of ideas is essential to the learning process.
As a friend of mine, who teaches Native American studies at a major American university, says:
"Two things come immediately to mind. One, [there are] high school students who think the first amendment is too radical in allowing people the freedom to voice unpopular views. This is a textbook case. Of course, I support his right to voice these views. It might be unpopular right now because the wounds are so raw, but this is not hate speech. This is a reasoned attempt to place the 9.11 attacks in the context of retaliation for generations of American policy that have amounted to genocide, especially from the point of view of Native Americans. I consider it scholarship, not rantings. What he is saying is that if we want to understand how anybody could have done this to the U.S., we should consider this point of view. And he is also saying, if the Indians would have had airplanes, things might have turned out differently.
The other thing that immediately comes to mind is that this is the type of essay that I would like to use in a senior seminar on native studies at the univeristy where I teach. It would provoke serious, animated discussion that would require students to set aside their emotions and deal intellectually with his logic. If there were Native Americans in the class, all the better for discussion.
... This is what the Bill of Rights is all about -- protection of unpopular (i.e., minority) viewpoints."
Another friend, who lives in Boulder, informs me that Prof. Churchill is not a rabble-rouser seeking a larger audience. In fact no one in that town seems to know who he is and his name was "not on the radar" until this whole thing was showcased by the FOX News Channel.
If you would like a chance to fight Bill O'Reilly, FOX News Channel and their army of goons, speak out now! Let's not give them the satisfaction of winning the second round of this battle.
Before Thursday, please take a few minutes to write to EACH AND EVERY Board of Regents member and express your support for the First Amendment. Boulder residents might want to attend the meeting, if you can. Republicans outnumber Democrats on this Board. Believe me there will be enormous pressure put on these people to cave in and fire Mr. Churchill, to prove to the extreme right wing of the Republican Party that only the "proper" kind of speech will be tolerated in these United States. (I find it unbelievably ironic that the Board of Regents will meet to decide the fate of a Native American teacher in a room named for Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a respected Democrat turned Republican of Native American extraction who served in the U. S. Senate from 1993 to 2005.)
Also, call your local radio talk shows and tell them how you feel.
University of Colorado
Special Meeting of the Board
February 3, 2004
Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Shore Family Forum
NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS AS OF JANUARY 12, 2005
Dr. Peter Steinhauer (D.D.S.)
7492 Spring Drive
Boulder, CO 80303
303-499-1278 (fax 303-543-2351)
Ms. Cindy Carlisle
411 Spruce Street
Boulder, CO 80302
303-444-2606 (fax 303-444-0057)
Ms. Patricia Hayes
12575 East Bates Circle
Aurora, CO 80014
303-369-0054 (fax 303-740-8409)
Mr. Michael Carrigan
555 Seventeenth Street, Suite 3200
Denver, CO 80202
(303)-295-8314 (fax 303-975-5489)
Mr. Tom Lucero
P.O. Box 921
Johnstown, CO 80534
970-978-1142 (fax 970-587-0920)
* Please send communications as an attachment to his email when possible
Mr. Steve Bosley
P.O. Box 270509
Louisville, CO 80027
303-604-2313 (fax 303-604-2313)
Mr. Jerry G. Rutledge, Chair
2745 Springmede Court
Colorado Springs, CO 80906-3716
719-527-8868 (fax 719-632-7694)
Mr. Paul Schauer
7255 South Jackson Court
Centennial, CO 80122
303-770-3872 (fax )
Ms. Gail Schwartz, Vice Chair
P.O. Box 6578
Snowmass Village, CO 81615
970-925-3013 (fax 970-544-4632)
N.B. My transcripts of both interviews will be posted as soon as I can get to them. Trust me. O'Reilly's in rare form on this one, even dredging up more slurs against Jeremy Glick, the young man whose father died in the 9/11 attack and appeared in OUTFOXED to discuss his harrowing experience on The O'Reilly Factor.