BOULDER, Colo. - Charges of research misconduct against controversial Colorado University professor Ward Churchill are moving ahead as the CU-Boulder faculty assembles a special Investigative Committee. A final decision on Churchill is expected within five months.
University officials announced Sept. 9 that seven of nine original charges deserved further investigation. Two others, including the charge that the professor misrepresented himself as a tribal member to gain academic advancement, fell outside of the committee’s jurisdiction, said CU-Boulder spokesman Pauline Hale.
The 11-member Standing Committee on Research Misconduct will refer the seven charges to a special committee now being selected. University officials declined to comment on the selection of the new committee or its makeup, citing "strict confidentiality requirements," but did say in a statement that the committee could have a chair and three to five members, and "would be expected" to make a report 120 days after it convened. The committee will be named in early October.
The seven charges include "alleged instances of plagiarism, misuse of others’ work, falsification and fabrication of authority," said the CU-Boulder statement.
The inquiry began in early February after national media gave intense publicity to an essay Churchill had written shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The Investigative Committee will not deal with another set of allegations from the family of Churchill’s late wife, Leah Renae Kelly, charging that he made "inaccurate and defaming" statements in a preface he wrote for a collection of her essays. The Assembly of First Nations passed a resolution in 2004 supporting Kelly’s family and denouncing the book, but the
UC-Boulder review said the charges "did not fall within the definition of research misconduct."
In the event of a finding of research misconduct, the university provost could impose potential sanctions ranging from warning to dismissal. Other actions could include a reprimand, reduction in pay or suspension.
Keep your fingers crossed!