University of Colorado-Boulder Gets Failing Grade in Academic Freedom

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Mitchell details political and religious hostility from his earliest days at the University of Colorado. Mitchell recounts that in his very first class, one of his colleagues told the class that he would put evangelical Christians in concentration camps if had his way. When Mitchell quoted scholar Thomas Sowell in expressing dissent over a director of a diversity program’s advocacy of affirmative action, the director then berated the history professor as a racist. Sowell, like two of Mitchell’s adopted children, are African American. The AAUP document notes that colleagues raised unsubstantiated charges of anti-Semitism, homophobia, and sexism, and barred the Christian academic from teaching on religion. Mitchell now teaches at Colorado Christian University, where his faith is a more explicit part of his pedagogy. “As a follower of Jesus Christ, it is not possible for me to separate [faith and learning],” Mitchell explains on his new school’s website. “When Christ becomes the Lord of your life, He merges your discipline with your walk with Him.”

Undermining the message for some, providing balance for others, the AAUP also includes in its indictment of CU Ward Churchill, the controversial former chairman of CU’s ethnic studies department, who was fired after claiming that the 9/11 terrorists acted with “patience and restraint” and calling their World Trade Center victims “little Eichmanns.” Just as Mitchell’s status as an untenured adjunct professor may complicate the report’s message, Churchill’s plagiarism and false claims of Native American heritage complicate its indictment of the university on the grounds of academic freedom.

This controversy over faculty bias isn’t the first to envelope the University of Colorado. A 1990s Rocky Mountain News survey of selected departments at the school’s Boulder campus found a 31-1 Democrat-Republican imbalance. A subsequent survey of various departments in the liberal arts and the social sciences by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture revealed that 94 percent of those CU-Boulder faculty members had registered as Democrats.

“If [economics professor] Ann Carlos and the History Department at CU had merely said, ‘We recommend Mitchell not be re-hired because we don’t like his opinions,’ it’s doubtful that [college of arts and sciences] Dean [Todd] Gleeson would have concurred,” the AAUP investigation concludes. “What they did instead was contrive a case against him, as documented in this report. Anyone who values the free exchange of ideas should be disturbed.”

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  • Bikeguy41

    I don't know what ads other readers see when they log into this page, but I find it somewhat ironical that the University of Phoenix, Co,mminity College of Denver, Th Art Institutes, and Westwood College are paid advertisers on this page.

    • Herman Caintonette

      That's your cookies speaking.

    • Joe

      What ads?

    • Beth

      I see that (and on other websites also) It's peculiar, for sure.

  • sod

    It's another proof the universities in this country are infested by lefts and the proformance of the young men at OWS is the fruit of their doctrine.

    • Herman Caintonette

      At least, they are literate. You, not so much.

    • ngw

      No one in congress can be charged with insider trading

  • Elsie E Connelly

    I can tell you from experience that U of Colorado-Boulder is much the same as the University of Nebraska. Conservatives are not welcome here. I am surprised that the AAUP is on the side of the conservative in this case. I am a staff member and have been told by Administration, that I am not allowed to have an opinion, especially since my opinion is contrary to the Liberals that run this insitution. There's a lot of stuff that has been swept under the rug here.

    • Herman Caintonette

      Nubrasqua — where the "N" on the helmet stands for knowledge.

      • Herman Caintonette

        Speaking of which, how 'bout you Bugeaters taking care of the Wolves this weekend, eh?

      • marsconi

        So, hotshot, where did you go to school? Had to be some expensive East Coast bastion of the Left given all the undeserved arrogance and condescension you've displayed here! Your parents must be so proud!

  • theophilogue

    I'm ashamed of UC. They should get in step with American Pluralism and be more tolerant.

    • Herman Caintonette

      But you are not ashamed of the propagandists at FPM, Townhall, RedState, and other institutions which routinely engage in viewpoint-based censorship, right?

      "Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. Long ago those who wrote our First Amendment charted a different course. They believed a society can be truly strong only when it is truly free. In the realm of expression they put their faith, for better or for worse, in the enlightened choice of the people, free from the interference of a policeman's intrusive thumb or a judge's heavy hand."

      Ginzburg v. United States, 383 U.S. 463, 498 (1966) (Stewart, J., dissenting).

      I take delight in challenging the immaculate preconceptions of people like those who inhabit this site, who are so safe in their dogmatism that they will never let opposing arguments disturb their peace. I celebrate the rabble-rousers, on both right and left. “Every idea is an incitement.” Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652, 673 (1925) (Holmes, J., dissenting).

      CU behaved badly during the Ward Churchill saga, and they appear to be making the same mistake here. Better to let ideas clash than swords.

  • xlent

    Hermie the TRUTH would set you free.

  • Herman Caintonette

    The AAUP sees the bigger picture. You don't need the First Amendment to protect your expression of the opinion that kittens are cute. If it doesn't protect the speech you loathe, it is of no value … and by not protecting that speech, you create a precedent which will eventually silence you. I'm in this prof's corner, too.

  • marsconi

    Interesting that you get the larger point. My experience is that liberals really don't believe in freedom of speech.

  • StephenD

    Wonder of wonders. I agree with your post. Is today it? Is it the end of life as we know it??
    Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
    I hope this isn't a fluke and you are coming to your senses.

  • StephenD

    I saw that and commented accordingly. Thanks for the heads up Cuz!

  • Herman Caintonette

    One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and the perspective of the victim is quite different. Frederick Douglass put it this way:

    "The only penetrable point of a tyrant is the fear of death. The outcry that they make, as to the danger of having their throats cut is because they deserve to have them cut."

    Frederick Douglass, Letter (to James Redpath), Jun. 29, 1860, as reprinted in, Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings 396 (Philip S. Foner, ed., Yuval Taylor, 1999).

    If the potential price of tyranny becomes too high, no one would want to be a tyrant.

  • Herman Caintonette

    Conservatives aren't big on it, either.

  • Herman Caintonette

    I don't advocate it; I merely observe that if it becomes necessary to deter a tyrant, it is not out-of-bounds. It's like MAD, in the sense that an all-out nuclear reprisal would almost certainly end all human life on the planet. No one thinks twice about our right to do so, if we are attacked. How is the killing of a tyrant's children any different, Chez?

  • marsconi

    You're full of it. Think Juan Williams, Hank Williams, Rush Limbaugh, any conservative professor, etc. Where are your modern examples, hot shot? It's easy to say "…so are you" but where's the beef? By the bye, I've been around libs all my life and the one thing I think is a universal with them and that is they are to their core intolerant! Free speech advocates! Yeah, right! Keep dreaming!

  • marsconi

    It's interesting that if you talk privately with a lib they always tell you what they really think, and it's never pretty!

    Think we should open more abortion clinics in the inner cities? I'm betting your vote is yes!

  • Herman Caintonette

    You num-nuts don't even know your own damned religion. It would be no different than your psychotic, bloodthirsty excuse for an ancient tribal sky-daddy murdering the first-born sons in every Egyptian family. If it is wrong, YOUR GOD is wrong.

    Denounce YHWH, and I'll take you seriously.

    You know I've been setting you up for that, don't you?

  • mrbean

    Allah will get you. I put the Arab curse on you. May the fleas from a 1000 camels find a home in your crotch.

  • Beth

    You're a hypocrite Herman "killing Jewish kids is morally legitimate" Caintonette

    Taught in your koran:

    047.004 Beheadings
    033.052 Gang Rape of female 'infidels'
    005.041 Racism
    005.033 Crucifixions
    008.067 Treason
    033.061 Genocide "without mercy"

    You have YET to address that crap

  • Beth

    "If the potential price of tyranny becomes too high, no one would want to be a tyrant"

    Spoken like a true muslim Herman "killing Jewish kids is morally legitimate" Caintonette

    I hope there are proper authorities looking at these posts. You are obsessed with killing children – even by "slitting their throats". You're a prime candidate (upon looking at your words) for carrying out what this world calls "terrorism" – but is actually mass murder…..genocide, as is commanded in your koran.

    you are evil to the core

  • Beth


  • Beth

    so true