On Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, right-wing activist David Horowitz falsely equated the recent allegations of plagiarism and related academic misconduct by Ward Churchill, professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, with the activities of other professors Horowitz profiled in his book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.
On the May 16 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, right-wing activist David Horowitz falsely equated the recent allegations of plagiarism and related academic misconduct by Ward Churchill, professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder, with the activities of other professors Horowitz profiled in his book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (Regnery, January 2006). Alleging that Churchill's indiscretions amount to “the tip of a very large iceberg” of academic impropriety at universities across the United States, Horowitz stated: "[W]hen you have a case like this, it exposes a widespread intellectual corruption of the university, which is what my book The Professors is about and why it has, you know, inspired such ire among professors." In fact, a Media Matters for America examination of The Professors found that of the 100 professors profiled, Horowitz documented only four cases in which a professor was -- like Churchill -- investigated by the university.
Horowitz appeared on The Big Story to discuss, as the Rocky Mountain News reported, findings by the University of Colorado's Standing Committee on Research Misconduct that Churchill “stole the work of others, twisted facts to bolster his own theories and repeatedly violated the most basic standards of scholarly research.” Host John Gibson asked Horowitz if he was surprised by the committee's findings. Horowitz replied, "[n]ot in the least," adding, “What's also interesting is that three members of that committee didn't think that was cause for actually firing him. So, you have to wonder what it takes in the way of violation of academic standards.” Horowitz then said that Churchill's academic conduct was “the tip of the iceberg” and suggested that the professors he profiled in his book were comparable to Churchill. He said: “I put 100 professors in my book The Professors, but I could have put 10,000 of them.”
The four university professors identified by Horowitz as having undergone investigations are as follows:
- Joseph Massad, Columbia University (pages 275-276): According to Horowitz, Massad's university investigated “two incidents in which he was alleged to have screamed at pro-Israeli students.”
- Leonard Jeffries, City University of New York (236-237): According to Horowitz, in 1992, the City University of New York board of trustees removed Jeffries as head of the Black Studies Department for making derogatory comments regarding George Washington and the Constitution.
- Robert Dunkley, University of Northern Colorado (128-131): Horowitz documented a university investigation into a student allegation that Dunkley provided an exam question asking “students to write an essay declaring that their country's war in Iraq was 'criminal'.” Horowitz did not note any action taken against Dunkley. After Media Matters noted that Horowitz's version of this event was unsubstantiated, he admitted that the story “appears to be wrong.” Horowitz subsequently retracted his correction, falsely accused Media Matters of lying, and then claimed he had lost interest in the “tedious back-and-forth” with Media Matters on the subject.
- Sami al-Arian, University of South Florida (17-20): Horowitz documented al-Arian's complications with authorities over his alleged ties to terrorism. The university suspended al-Arian with pay. At a subsequent trial, a jury acquitted al-Arian on some charges and was hung on other charges Before a retrial, al-Arian pleaded guilty to providing support to members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and agreed to be deported. According to his lawyer, al-Arian agreed to plead guilty to spare his family the difficulties of further legal proceedings.
From the May 16 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson:
GIBSON: The results of an investigation of a professor who compared 9-11 victims to Nazis were released a short time ago. The University of Colorado at Boulder has found -- quote -- “serious cases of misconduct in Ward Churchill's academic research.”
MIMI WESSON (chairwoman, University of Colorado Standing Committee on Research Misconduct) [video clip]: In particular, we found instances of falsification, fabrication, plagiarism, failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications, and other serious deviations from accepted practices in recording the results of research.
GIBSON: Churchill has denied any wrongdoing. A punishment has not yet been determined. We're joined now by David Horowitz, editor of the conservative website FrontPageMag.com. In the 1990s, he created the Individual Rights Foundation, which led the battle against speech codes on college campuses. And, of course, he has a book about professors out right now. So, David, this surprise you, that Ward Churchill was found to have committed these offenses?
HOROWITZ: Not in the least. What's -- what's surprising is, this was a faculty committee -- very important to emphasize that -- that found him guilty of these egregious violations of standards. What's also interesting is that three members of that committee didn't think that was cause for actually firing him. So, you have to wonder what it takes in the way of violation of academic standards. The big story around Churchill is that he's the tip of a very large iceberg. I put 100 professors in my book The Professors, but I could have put 10,000 of them. When -- Churchill's academic record, of course, is known to the academics. His entire department voted to hire him without a Ph.D., voted to promote him to tenure rank and then to full professor rank, and then he was elected chairman of the department, which means the dean had to pass on that, and experts in the field. So, when you have a case like this, it exposes a widespread intellectual corruption of the university, which is what my book The Professors is about and why it has, you know, inspired such ire among professors.