Conservative Cancel Culture: The Curious Case of Ward Churchill

An extremely thorough and eye-opening 2011 report by the AAUP exposes how extremist conservative professors manipulated political pressure to censor American voices they disagreed with:

Regents and administration and some faculty of the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) allowed an obvious political vendetta against Ward Churchill to override their honesty, deny due process, violate their own published rules, ignore accepted standards of shared governance and academic freedom, and manipulate the investigative process to produce a predetermined, false conclusion. At few points in recent history have the political machinations to censor opinion been so brazen.

This section in particular stood out as insightful foreshadowing.

In Peoria, Churchill befriended and became roommates with another Peoria area native, Mark Clark. A year later Clark, along with Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, was killed in a raid on Hampton’s apartment, conducted by the Chicago police and the FBI, in what became a seminal event in 1960’s radicalism. While the police claimed that they fired at Clark and Hampton in self-defense, it was later determined that the victims were asleep. A grand jury found that the police fired between 82 and 99 rounds. The Panthers fired a single shot in self-defense, determined by the grand jury to have come from Clark in a reflexive death convulsion as he slept in a chair guarding the door, a shotgun in his lap. Ten years later, the Clark and Hampton families received a $1.85 million wrongful death settlement from the FBI and the City of Chicago.

Of some relevance to Churchill’s later intellectual concerns, as well as the unsparing tenor of much of his scholarship, the police were “tipped off” by an informant who had infiltrated the Black Panthers and provided details about Hampton’s apartment. This infiltration was part of a massive FBI campaign, known as COINTELPRO, to subvert the Panthers and other radical organizations. According to FBI documents released under the Freedom of Information Act in 1988, Churchill himself was recommended by agents in the FBI’s Peoria office for “neutralization.” The theme of government infiltration is one that Churchill would return to often in his scholarly explorations. The FBI informant, William O’Neal, committed suicide after admitting his role.

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