Letter: Freedom v. incompetence

This letter is concerning the ongoing discussion of free speech surrounding University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill and Harvard President Lawrence Summers. However, the discussion should not be over freedom of speech, but rather over incompetence. These individuals are not protesters on the Quad, who in their expression of freedom of speech are allowed to spout lies. Rather, they are employees paid to represent institutions and teach their students. Therefore, if either is lying to their students or the public, they deserve to be criticized, if not fired, for their incompetence. I didn’t see Enron executives hiding behind freedom of speech when they misled shareholders and the public.

President Summers should not face incompetence allegations. After all, our own psychology classes on campus teach nature versus nurture and arrive at no conclusion on many gender issues. While he likely regrets having offended some individuals, his comments are not necessarily false.

However, it’s hard to argue on behalf of Ward Churchill when he lied about his own heritage and called single moms working at the World Trade Center to provide for their kids “little Eichmanns” who “willingly and knowingly” contributed to “America’s global financial empire.” I guess I forgot that when my mom was working and going to school to provide for my sister and me she was acting as a Nazi Dr. Evil attempting to take over the world.

Professors should not be able to hide behind academic integrity. You wouldn’t want your calculus professor deciding that 2+2=7. Therefore, we can’t have professors telling students that going to work every day (as they themselves do) makes us Nazis.

Jacob Vial

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    freshman in business