Tag Archives: CU Boulder

Mimi Wesson has um big penis envy

CU Professor Marianne Wesson on her rideDENVER- And it’s a strange lot of penises she covets: there’s Bob Guccione, OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton and… Ward Churchill. In a private email in the midst of the CU firestorm over Churchill’s 9/11 essay, Wesson compared the “thoroughly unpleasant” Churchill to a pornographer, wife-batterer-killer, pedophile and cheat –as attorney David Lane reminded us in his closing arguments today. But it wasn’t the email that tipped me off, nor her fiction-writer persona promotional photo on the motorcycle. It was something which Marianne “My friends call me Mimi” did on her first day of testimony, early in the trial. When she left the witness stand, Wesson did not return to her seat, nor to the chairs located by the defense table for CU-aligned witnesses. During her break, Churchill-slayer Mimi Wesson chose the chair directly behind Ward Churchill.

Did anyone else remark on this? Even though Wesson stubbornly tried to project an adult impartiality about the case, as would befit the chairperson of a committee deciding another faculty member’s fate, off the stand Wesson couldn’t resist the urge which it appears drove her to solicit the committee chair position in the first place: to face “male celebrity wrongdoers” and take them down.

In the courtroom Wesson denied agreeing to the committee appointment only with the proviso that she be in charge, but her earlier videotaped deposition recorded otherwise. By her own account, Wesson had asked to be chairperson of the board selected to investigate Churchill. When Wesson blamed a possible stenographer’s error for the inconsistency, Attorney Lane pointed out that the courtroom had just heard her deposition with its own ears.

As a pup fiction writer, and a frequent law commentator on mainstream news programs, it’s clear Wesson welcomes the public eye. During the “All Churchill, all the time” mayhem, maybe she saw an opportunity to pretend to have incited the Churchill lynch mob.

Scrummy leaderI hope Wesson will be remembered for her testimony in this trial, in which the law professor demonstrated she was crafty enough to avoid admitting her prejudice, but couldn’t distance herself from the incriminating grandstanding she’d already done.

The “Wesson Committee” was shown in this trial to have been a hatchet team of academic hacks. Whose foray into Native America Ethnic Studies, purportedly to debunk Ward Churchill’s scolarship, resembled a visit of Ugly Americans to an Indian reservation. With Mimi the Emasculator wanting both to drive and ride shotgun.

Churchill v Churchill

ward-churchillClosing arguments will be heard this morning in the Ward Churchill trial and then the case goes to the (very young and earnest) jury.

Winston Churchill said “history is written by the victors” which has been a central thesis in much of Ward Churchill’s work. It’s scrumptiously ironic that when Ward Churchill wins his case against CU, he’ll become a contributor to the “Master Narrative” he so despises. I’m guessing his chapter will be full of tales of brave Indiginists and murdering technocrats, white male regents and the soulless women who love them. Academia will be recast as the valiant protector of the ruling elite and the mighty slayer of free thought and open debate. The jury of young, multiracial unsophisticates will be consecrated as puissant defenders of justice. A few vindictive ex-wives and some illicit boys’ room puffing may be tossed in to add color.

When Ward Churchill prevails against the esteemed institution that called into question his academic integrity, his reputation as a scholar and a brilliant polemicist will be restored. More importantly, the master narrative will no longer be inscrutable.

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it,
ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.
— W. Churchill

Driving Miss McIntosh

Marjorie K. McintoshDENVER- At first the testimony from a CU committee member who voted to dismiss Ward Churchill seemed utterly damning. Dr. Marjorie McIntosh, retired Distinguished Professor of history, gave her testimony by video because she would be lecturing in England at the time of the Churchill v CU trial. She came across like a wise elder, her scolding kind and maternal. She had me convinced that Ward should be sent to his room, but for an indelible pallor that began to infect her testimony as the retired professor grew tired under scrutiny. And like the history of 14th Century England which was her specialization, it became inescapably evident that Marjorie McIntosh was very, very white.

At face value, Dr. McIntosh’s quiet authoritative demeanor seemed beyond reproach, expressing as she did her support for Ward Churchill’s right to speak. McIntosh described how her father was a dean at U of M who reputedly stood up to Senator McCarthy. She explained her initial reluctance to be party to a Right Wing attempt to “get” Professor Churchill. At first Ms. McIntosh seemed as earnest as your own grandmother, if your grandmother was also a well spoken distinguished academic.

But the cracks in Ms. McIntosh’s maternal concern showed themselves even before the plaintiff’s cross-examination. When Professor McIntosh described herself as “fair and impartial,” it was in contrast, she offered, to Professor Churchill for example, who she understands may not be impartial or neutral.

Partiality
Under cross-examination McIntosh went further. To paraphrase: “Professor Curchill is not a trained historian, he has an MA, he is a scholar who writes on historical subjects. He presents himself as a specialist, but he does not have that training.”

By contrast we are meant to infer, McIntosh is a Distinguished Professor, rewarded for having had a “national impact” on scholarship, and having produced work which has “directed” consequential research.

Questioned about the significance of tenure, McIntosh described the rigorous qualifications which she met. But with a smile she would not vouch for a uniformity of high standards at CU, since, obviously… She held her tongue as if too polite to say it: Ward Churchill was a glaring example of the opposite.

A second indication of Dr. McIntosh’s personal bias might be suggested by how she characterized committee chairwoman Mimi Wesson’s perceived personal agenda: Did she detect any bias on the committee, in particular with Wesson? McIntosh saw no evidence of bias, and she thought Wesson treated Professor Churchill with great respect, both in his presence and after. McIntosh was impressed by Wesson’s professionalism.

Another of McIntosh’s responses hints at a further insincerity. She and her SCRUM colleagues were tasked with investigating one allegation each made against Churchill. McIntosh was “foot soldier” for the Madan Indian Ft Clark episode. Discrepancies in Churchill’s account had been brought to the university’s attention by Arizona professor Lavall, a rival of Churchill’s in the American Indian Movement. McIntosh was asked whether she knew that Lavall’s allegations had been raised six years before being addressed by her committee. Perhaps to dodge the accusation that the timing of their inquest was more related to Churchill’s 9/11 essay, McIntosh replied that she did not know. After of course, delivering the findings of what she presented as an exhaustive review of all available evidence.

Allegation A
Allegation A held that Churchill falsified an account of the 1837 small pox outbreak in North Dakota. McIntosh was charged with verifying Churchill’s claims (1) that small pox was deliberately spread by the US Army using blankets, (2) that said blankets were dispensed from a St Louis small pox infirmary, (3) that the infected Indians were ordered to scatter, (4) that a vaccination was deliberately kept from the indians, and (5) that the dead numbered upwards 400,000.

According to Lavall and the CU committee, Churchill was held to have been negligent in citing sources. While Churchill countered that his accounts came from oral tradition, much of it commonly known, McIntosh encountered none.

While McIntosh concedes that she does shares no heritage with Native Americans, to perhaps have grown up with oral accounts, but she argues that Churchill is similarly neither from the tribal lines from which he would have heard Mandan stories.

Did you give Professor Churchill the benefit of the doubt? Dr. McIntosh was asked?

“I would say we gave him a great big benefit of the doubt” McIntosh replied. Her research found no oral tradition of small pox evidence. “We could have stopped there and found him guilty of fabrication and falsification.” Instead the committee magnanimously contacted Churchill to ask for further evidence. They were surprised when he produced conflicting sources. Most surprising, McIntosh condescended, was not getting a straight-forward answer from Professor Churchill.

McIntosh summarized the generally accepted narrative of the 1837 epidemic: Every summer a fur trading company working along the Missouri River, sent a steamship north from St Louis, to the fortified trading posts lying along the river, at their furthest, 2000 miles north. Only once a year, the “Saint Peter” steamed upriver with trading goods to exchange for furs and hides, and with “annuities” which were gifts for Indian tribes who had signed a treaty with the government. A week into the 1837 voyage, one passenger was showing signs of an illness but the captain decided against forcing a disembarkation. By two weeks, everyone on the boat had contracted what was by then undeniably a small pox outbreak. As each of these travelers got off at the trading posts, small pox spread from every stop. The Mandan Indians lived 300 miles north of Ft Union, the furthest point of the steamboat. At least 90% of their number were killed. That much is undisputed.

About involvement of US soldiers, blankets, an infirmary, a vaccination withheld, and an order to scatter, Ms. McIntosh found absolutely no proof. She conceded that some accounts hint that the outbreak was intentional, a couple of accounts mention blankets. On this point the committee agreed the thesis could have been justified. But St Louis newspaper archives reveal no trace of an infirmary nor of a small pox outbreak. There were no medical records kept at the trading posts, nor even any medical staff. Etc.

And as to Churchill’s numbers… “Churchill cites 100,000, then 125,000, then 250,00 and now as many as 400,000.” Churchill attributes the figures to “as Professor Thornton suggests.” But according to McIntosh, Thornton never gave any numbers.

Disputing the numbers, the means, the details, reminds me of another pattern of denial.

Holocaust Denial
Is this not the very basis of Holocaust Denial? A perpetrator culture, commits a genocide, then quibbles with accusers by pointing to the paucity of evidence. It’s a mobster’s strategem. Leave no witnesses and there’s no one to tie you to a crime. A massacre thoroughly executed leaves no trace. History is written by the victors. The master narrative, in Western Heritage, has always had a white master.

Do I liken McIntosh to Jessica Tandy’s role in Driving Miss Daisy? If Tandy had quietly not transformed, but instead held tenaciously to her condescending racism. I would be loath to offend those courageous souls who labor to get to the truth about recorded history, but Holocaust Denial is about repudiating mankind’s evil deeds. Where evidence is sparse, because the perpetrators covered their tracks, others come along to cast doubt on the original crime. The details matter less than the crime. Here we have white man’s genocide against the Native Americans. All the details are in dispute. Held together, they deny the whole of what we can plainly see as the truth.

Asked if she was acquainted with Critical Race Theory, McIntosh replied she wasn’t. She professed uncertainty about even the tenure process for Ethnics Studies. She feels those kind of studies are emotional and partisan. Enlish history has debate too, but less resonance in people’s current lives.

Academic disciplines
Dr. McIntosh became combative when challenged about her proficiency with history from taken from oral tradition. In her later scholarship, Ms. McIntosh worked in contemporary Ugandan women’s studies. Oral sources build African history, but not in English history, where archival history preempts oral sources. We are left to question if McIntosh can reconcile how to incorporate oral accounts not from the present.

Was she coming at this subject with a bias? No, she’d never heard of the Mandan small pox epidemic.

Did anyone put pressure on her, to arrive at her findings? “In the first place, it didn’t occur to me that anyone would put pressure on me.” In discussing her apprehension about joining committee, Mcintosh “did not think the University would be critical of me.”

Media coverage of Denver Churchill Trial

Media gather around video feed from Churchill vs CU trial
DENVER- NMT to the rescue. So far we’ve noticed a strange media dyslexia about the Churchill vs CU trial. When we’ve attended, the proceedings look like a rout for truth and the historical record. When we haven’t made it to Denver and are left to rely on the news coverage, by all accounts Churchill is in trouble. Are the reporters freakin’ blind?

While I’ve been content to revel in the excitement of clackering laptop keyboards all about me in the courtroom, I hadn’t snooped over anyone’s shoulder, until this week. On Monday, the Boulder Daily Camera front row regular, after he’d posted his story before the first morning break, busied himself with emails, then watched a video with the Denver Post correspondent perched over his shoulder. Later another media log lump monopolized the last power outlet to play solitaire.

I’m guessing the DU law student project Race to the Bottom blogger is taking the most notes, competing with a would-be law student, not just for proficiency, but also in who takes the most drearily technical view of the proceedings.

I’ve yet been able to assess the coverage by the weekly visitor from the Silver and Gold Record, CU’s faculty publication. Check out the Wednesday account, and three previous: March 16, 14, 12.

Ward Churchill is expected to take the stand today, so I’ve come up to lend insight to the academic goings on. I’m somewhat alarmed at the angle the media is taking. Ward Churchill is not only the leading authority on Native American history, he’s among only a few outspoken academic voices. More spirited than Zinn, or Chomsky, and as result, perhaps more controversial. But I challenge anyone to name many contemporaries who match more luminary.

Next I will provide color commentary for the lesser luminaries who are dogging Churchill and his desecration of idealized Americana.

CU lawyer thinks it was Ward Churchill who may have violated 1st Amendment

Colorado State Court Room 6
DENVER- CHURCHILL TRIAL, DAY TWO. University of Colorado defense attorney Patrick O’Rourke wanted the jury to understand that Freedom of Speech was a complicated matter. He asked Dean of CU’s law school, David Getches, to confirm “Is First Amendment Law hard?” “Yes it is.” “Are you an expert on First Amendment law?” “No, I am not.” O’Rourke also got former Governor Bill Owens to admit the First Amendment concept was “tricky.” But no one could have conveyed it better than O’Rourke himself. He described how CU scoured Professor Ward Churchill’s work “to look for First Amendment violations.” Pretending to detail the school’s concern for protecting Churchill’s academic freedom, O’Rourke explained that when it was concluded that Churchill’s 9/11 Little Eichmann essay was protected speech, CU set about to find other instances where “what he said might violate the First Amendment.”

Boulder Daily Camera editorial and CU campus Colorado Daily are unanimous

Bill Ayers and Ward Churchill
BOULDER- All the Denver TV news vans were standing by as Ward Churchill retook the CU campus podium. Local coverage of the Glenn Miller Ballroom event was front page and immediate, in both the students’ Colorado Daily and the Boulder Daily Camera. The surprise wasn’t just that the articles were unflattering, but that they were the exact same.

I’m sure it’s not news to the CU students that their free campus paper is none other than the reformatted local daily. You might wonder which is the more student-inclined. The news section of the student paper is titled CU AND THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC, as if to differentiate the student body from their “Leftist” township. The same article in the local daily Bill Ayers backs Ward Churchill, was retitled NOTORIOUS DISSENTER BACKS UP EMBATTLED PROF for the kids.

Keep in mind, this is not the work of the students.

While it might look perfectly transparent to publish a student-focused edition, full of campus-life related ads, what would be the purpose of two distinct internet facades for the same content? If not to reinforce the notion that the editorial content was distinct.

Maybe the TWIN DAILIES reporters had time enough only to write their articles before hearing the speeches, because their stories reflected none of the convivial humanism presented by all the guests. The other article published the next morning was: Crowd faces tight security for Ayers, Churchill talk at CU. A follow-up article the next day was more in depth, but not about the subject of Thursday’s event, neo-McCarthyism. The Saturday article redraws the battle lines of the Churchill-CU dispute. If you’d like to judge for yourself, both do have a video of the Thursday Forbidden Education rally.

Pretense of separate publications is dropped when you click Full local coverage of Ward Churchill and his trial against CU, where you get all the accruing coverage courtesy of the BOULDER DAILY CAMERA.

The only real alternative news in Boulder comes through the Boulder Weekly. But neither is it student run.

By its actions against Ward Churchill, and certainly by its grip on student communication, the CU administration appears bent on rotting Boulder’s promise of higher education from its academic core.

College Republicans not brightest bulbs

CU Boulder student Andrew CrownBOULDER- A favorite photo from Thursday night’s event. This is the president of the CU College Republicans, who got up to object to student funds being spent on terrorists and frauds. Even after Ayers and Churchill spoke about how neither education nor students should be treated like commodities, sweaty dope Andrew Crown asked why a university could not do like any well-run corporation, and fire whomever it wished.

The crowd booed, but the panel of guests calmly encouraged us to let everyone have their say. It’s a reserve and graciousness of which I am in short supply. These guys shout down activists, attack progressives, remember the RNC Kicker, and the Protest Warriors? They have the ear of the mainstream corporate press. Why would we need to tolerate a single of their blimp-necked peeps at a discussion for intelligent people?

If you think I am assessing someone’s intelligence level based on whether he agrees with me, I am. On academic matters, it most certainly is appropriate. In classes, assessments of the retention and comprehension of man’s accumulated understanding of the subjects are called tests.

Does the University of Colorado have no admissions standards?

Mr. Crown’s questions was answered well beyond his ability to understand, and he returned to his seat shaking his head like the whole lot of us were incorrigible. I hope so.