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Thursday, June 30, 2005
FoxNews has picked up the story. Read John Gibson's take on it...
Also, Professor Roisman sent the following letter to Fox and has asked that ILN publish it as well:
John Gibson's report of June 29, 2005, "Un-Collegial?," contains false statements which I insist you and he correct immediately.
No letter about Professor Ward Churchill was written by me. I am one of more than 500 academics who signed an Open Letter from Concerned Academics, which is available at www.defendcriticalthinking.org
The letter to which I added my name is not "a defense of Ward Churchill for his little Eichmans remark." [The absence of punctuation is in Mr. Gibson's article.[ The letter is a defense of academic freedom and specifically says that "the issues here have nothing to do with the quality of Ward Churchill's scholarship or his professional credentials. However one views his choice of words or specific arguments, he is being put in the dock solely for his radical critique of U.S. history and present-day policy . . . "
Gibson's statement that "When Bradford refused to sign the letter . . . Roisman and others . . . decided he was being 'un-collegial' . . ." is false in two respects: first, it assumes that I and others fault Professor Bradford for being "uncollegial," which is not the case for me; second, it suggests that my views of Professor Bradford are related to his not signing the letter, which is false. I am a strong proponent of the proposition that Professor Bradford, like Professor Churchill, should not be prejudiced in any way by anyone because of the substance of his views about anything.
On a less significant point, Gibson errs in stating that the flag displayed in our law school's atrium was removed. It was not removed. It hangs, as it has for some time, in a prominent position in the atrium.
Mr. Gibson made no effort to contact me to ascertain the truth of any of the material which he has published. I repeat that I expect a prompt and full correction of his false statements.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Much of the readership of this blog has been waiting for the other side(s) of the story. Prof. Roisman has presented her side below. Now the university has provided an official response to the Ruth Holladay article published this Sunday. It is unknown if and when the Indianapolis Star will publish this response. Interim Dean Mead has forwarded this letter from William Plater, Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties at I.U.P.U.I., to everyone on the school list-serv.
I only ask if anyone comments to please do so respectfully.
June 29, 2005
A recent column in the Indianapolis Star by Ruth Holladay leaves readers with wrong impressions regarding the status of IUPUI Professor William Bradford and the manner in which promotion and tenure decisions are made at IUPUI.
As the chief academic officer of the campus and the person responsible for administering promotion and tenure policies and procedures, I would like to offer a few clarifying comments.
After reading the column, some readers concluded that Professor Bradford has been denied tenure at the Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, which is not so. Professor Bradford has not presented his case for tenure. He is not yet eligible. There has been no vote on tenure.
However, he was granted a promotion this year to associate professor, which is an affirmation of his work. He also received for the second rear in a row a special dean’s fellowship in recognition of scholarly excellence. It is clear from personnel actions taken by the law school that his teaching and research are highly regarded by his colleagues.
Because the process for granting promotion and tenure is performance-based and subject to evaluation at the school, campus, and university level by both peers and administrators, there is no reason for concern that Professor Bradford will be subject to unfair treatment when his case for tenure is presented for review.
Unfortunately, without any basis, the column suggests otherwise.
In fact, the column goes so far as to unjustly attack two tenured law school professors – Professors Mary Mitchell and Florence Roisman – suggesting the two professors have voted against tenure. This is simply not true. Professors Mitchell and Roisman have not voted on tenure for Professor Bradford at all. The column goes on to assert that they are out to block Professor Bradford’s academic career at IUPUI because he disagrees with their views on the war on terror and other issues. Personal views on such issues have no place in personnel decisions, and both professors have said that Professor Bradford’s views on war and other issues are not a factor.
According to the column, disagreeing with the views of others makes Professor Bradford “uncollegial,” which will harm his prospects for obtaining tenure in the future. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Collegiality at IUPUI is designed to encourage, not stifle, intellectual debate. It enables faculty to pursue a common mission while disagreeing--with civility--on many issues, procedures, and policies as well as intellectual perspectives, methodologies, and even facts. Collegiality is not a criterion for promotion or tenure, and disagreements over issues should never be considered in evaluating a colleague for advancement.
The promotion and tenure process at IUPUI exists to ensure academic freedom. It is not uncommon for faculty to express differences of opinion. That widely diverse viewpoints exist in our law school is something we value, not regret. Indeed, a free and democratic society depends on our capacity to disagree passionately yet retain a shared commitment to a civil community that can accept and tolerate difference.
William M. Plater
Executive Vice Chancellor
and Dean of the Faculties
Prof. Roisman has requested that we publish the following open letter to Prof. Bradford. Prof. Bradford was contacted about running a response as well, but he does not "anticipate making any further public statements before either this is resolved through mediation or the suit is filed."
1. You stated on Channel 8 that "Florence Roisman’s trying to allege that because I have viewpoints that are different from hers in terms of the war on terror - she thinks it’s an aggressive war; I think it’s a just war, to liberate the people there and help enhance our security. Because of that difference of opinion, I am a bad person. I am an uncollegial person. I need to be politically cleansed..."
This is a flat-out lie. I never have said or suggested anything of the sort. My conviction that you are not deserving of or likely to earn tenure here is not based on any political views you may hold, and I have made that clear in every statement I have made on the subject. I made that clear in the discussions in the Promotion and Tenure Committee. You can have absolutely no basis for this defamatory statement. I insist upon an immediate, unconditional, and public retraction.
2. Indylaw.net carries a comment made by you "at the Volokh Conspiracy weblog." The statement is that "The real reason for the votes of 5 tenured colleagues not to renew my contract, as best I can tell and based on what little has percolated down to me, was that I defend the war on terror (for reasons of self-determination principally) and won't sign letters in support of Ward Churchill's assertion that the victims of the 9/11 terrorists are the moral equivalents of the architect of the Jewish Shoah." See http://iuilaw.blogspot.com for Monday, June 27, 2005.
The context makes clear that you are making this statement about me, among others. If anyone has "percolated" to you any basis for such a statement about me, I insist that you immediately disclose what was said to you and who said it. It is a flat-out lie, and defamatory to state that either of these things was any part of anything I have said or done about you. (As you well know, there never was a vote "not to renew [your] contract.")
3. In that same statement you write that you have "actually heard the expression 'Clarence Tomahawk' used around the faculty suites." Again, the context suggests that I have used that expression. That would be a flat-out lie; I never had even heard that expression before I read your posting on the blog, and I never would use such an expression. I insist that you immediately and publicly state by whom you "actually heard" that expression used and that you immediately, unconditionally, and publicly withdraw the deceitful and defamatory suggestion that you heard me use such an expression.
4. In a posting on Indylaw.net on June 27, 2005, you wrote that “I’m being squeezed out by people who can’t abide by [sic] the kind of Indian I am, which is free-thinking and not colonized either in body or mind." See this comment (posted on June 27, 2005, at 5:24 p.m.)
Again, the context makes clear that you are referring to me. Again, it is a flat-out lie and defamatory to suggest that my opinion about whether or not you should be tenured here has anything whatever to do with your status as an Indian or what "kind of Indian" you may be. It also is a flat-out lie and defamatory to state or suggest that I did or would oppose anyone because she or he is "free-thinking and not colonized either in body or mind." I insist upon an immediate, unconditional, public retraction.
5. Ruth Holladay’s column in the Indianapolis Star for June 26, 2005, at page B1, reports that you said that you are "under attack" (in her words) because your views on the war on terror are different from the views held by me and Professor Mitchell. It is a lie and defamatory to state that my views on your suitability for tenure have any relationship to your views on the war on terror. (It also is a lie and defamatory to make such a statement about Professor Mitchell, but I leave her to speak for herself.) I insist that you disclose whether you made such a statement to Ms. Holladay, and if you did, I insist upon an immediate, unconditional, public retraction.
In addition to these specific statements, you have insinuated in these and other fora that my conviction that you are undeserving of and unlikely to earn tenure here is based upon your views of the war in Iraq, your views of the so-called "war on terror," your status as a Native American, your declining to sign a letter supporting the academic freedom of Professor Ward Churchill, or your status as a veteran. My long record of anti-racism and support for diversity, freedom of speech, and academic freedom thoroughly refute the first four of your untrue and offensive statements and suggestions The notion that I would be prejudiced against someone because she or he is a veteran is equally absurd and is refuted by, among other things, my recent article, National Ingratitude: The egregious Deficiencies of the United States' Housing Programs for Veterans and the 'Public Scandal' of Veterans' Homelessness, 38 Ind. L. Rev. 103 (2005). To be perfectly clear, so that neither you nor anyone else can have any doubt about what I am saying, my conviction that you are not deserving of or likely to earn tenure here is not based, to any extent, on your political views, your declining to sign a letter supporting the academic freedom of Professor Churchill, or your status as a Native American or a veteran, and there is not, and therefore you cannot possibly have, any basis for your deceitful and defamatory statements and suggestions to the contrary, for each of which, as I have indicated above, I insist upon an immediate, unconditional, and public retraction.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Monday, June 27, 2005
In a comment at the Volokh Conspiracy weblog, Prof. Bradford clarifies his contention:
It most certainly is a witch hunt, but what is really interesting about it (or would be interesting if I weren't at the center) is that it's impossible to characterize me as a right-winger. In fact, the Indian law community knows me as a far-left radical, which I don't think is entirely true, but I have indeed called for reparations from the U.S. to Indian tribes and even for tribes, in the wake of U.S. v. Lara, to declare independence from the U.S. The real reason for the votes of 5 tenured colleagues not to renew my contract, as best I can tell and based on what little has percolated down to me, was that I defend the war on terror (for reasons of self-determination principally) and won't sign letters in support of Ward Churchill's assertion that the victims of the 9/11 terrorists are the moral equivalents of the architect of the Jewish Shoah. I'm sorry, but that's, in my view, a very hateful and hurtful thing to say. My mom's parents were born as POWs in a U.S. Army prisoner of war camp, and I still love this country. I've actually heard the expression "Clarence Tomahawk" used around the faculty suites. I could shrug this off if I didn't have a disabled wife and a two-year old daughter, but the threat to my livelihood is very troubling.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
[Editor's Note: The following commentary reflects the view of the author alone, and does not necessarily reflect the views or official positions of other writers at this site, Indiana University or its affiliates.]
Update: Prof. Roisman writes, "I am not wealthy and I come from New York, not New England."
The Indianapolis Star carries a story that has long been a subject of conversation at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis. It involves two of the schools most outspoken professors - Florence Roisman and William Bradford. Roisman, by her own acount "the most to-the-left person" on the faculty, and Bradford, a relatively conservative professor, do not see eye to eye. The differences have led to a nasty dispute that has finally found its way to the community outside of the law school walls.
Roisman and Bradford are as different as night and day. Roisman is a wealthy New Englander, short in stature and over two decades Bradford's senior. Most of all, though, Roisman is an unabashed liberal. Bradford, on the other hand, is a conservative who generally supports Bush's "war on terror" and the Iraq war. He's a young, athletic man of Native American decent with an imposing figure, but gentle personality. He's fought in two wars, at times behind enemy lines, and earned the Silver Star. Perhaps the only thing the two have in common is their stellar education. Both earned degrees at Harvard Law and both are top notch academics.
In terms of teaching the law, Roisman is one of the finest I've had in two years of law school. She has a remarkable ability to impart the law, both theoretically and practically (a rare combination). I've not had the opportunity to have Prof. Bradford, but every indication is that he is equally capable in the classroom. Indeed, students voted him best new professor. So why must these two top notch educators be embroiled in such a public fight?
Despite what the Star article tries to suggest, their dispute does not center around Roisman's refusal to vote for tenure for Bradford. Why? Bradford has not even applied for tenure, and besides, faculty members do not typically apply for tenure until their sixth year of teaching (Bradford has just completed his third). In other words, the piece by Ruth Holladay is a non-story undeserving of wider publicity. Inter-faculty disagreements are not exactly riviting news, nor should they be.
But this disagreement does remain fertile ground for discussion on this site, as it significantly impacts the school's community. As I've already stated, Prof. Roisman is among the best at teaching the law, but her well documented antics outside of the classroom are controversial, to say the least. She demanded, successfully and without prior discussion, that a Christmas tree be removed from the school's atrium because of its alleged insensitivity. When given an opportunity, she consistently advocates a more liberal minded Constitutional/statutory interpretation. She openly supported Ward Churchill, the anti-American Colorado professor who called 9/11 victims "little Eichmanns," not just for his academic freedom, but for his underlying position. And I've heard numerous reports of Roisman privately urging students not to work for "the man" in prosecutorial or certain private sector positions.
I do not doubt the sincerity of Prof. Roisman's desire to bring about a better law school environment and to advocate a position she passionately believes is superior and just. But I can say with certainty that her crusade has significantly altered the mood among the law school student body. Whether this is a positive change to be embraced by the faculty and administration is an important question that needs to be addressed. Either way, though, this is hardly a story deserving of Indy Star attention.
In April this blog visited the topic of tenure for Professor William Bradford. The issue generated quite a bit of discussion, including input from Professors Bradford and Cooper.
Today's Indianapolis Star contains an article by Ruth Holladay about Professor Bradford's struggle to attain tenured status at IU-Indy.
Holladay reports that despite Bradford's qualifications and good academic standing he is being denied tenure because his political leanings are not in accord with those of other members of the faculty.
I have great respect for all faculty members mentioned in the article. And, as with all things, I suspect there is much more to the story than the information to which we - as interested students and alumni - are currently privy.
Monday, June 20, 2005
The joke of a race known as the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix has resulted in legal action. Larry Bowers, a race fan from Colorado, filed a class action lawsuit today in Indianapolis against the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (host of the U.S. Grand Prix), Federation de l' Automobile (FIA is the sanctioning body for Formula One), Formula One Group, Formula One Administration and Michelin Tires (manufacturer of the potentially faulty tires used by the 14 cars that pitted after the presentation lap).
The lawsuit claims Formula One, the FIA, Michelin, the teams equipped by
Mr. Powers is seeking a refund for his five tickets in addition to related costs for attending the race.
Some fans are blaming Formula One for failing to relax their notoriously rigid rules, thus assuring a no compromise would be reached that would allowed all 20 cars to race. However, in a statement by Formula One it revealed one reason they did not allow a last second alteration to the race course was a concern about their liability in a lawsuit.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Nuisance law is normally applied to junk cars, loud noises, strange smells from compost heaps, and dangerous pets that prevent a property owner from the normal enjoyment of their property. A Battle Ground, IN couple, the Sturgeons, filed a lawsuit against their neighbor, the Rodgers, claiming their neighbor created a nuisance by allowing his recently released from prison brother live with him. The 62 year old brother served seven years of a 14 year sentence for child molestation and moved into his brother' home after being released on May 28th.
Concerning the safety of their four children, the Sturgeons state, "They're all outside playing, one goes in to the bathroom. We're panicked. We can't find the kid and the first thought is, did one of them get snagged?"
"First, the Sturgeons sent a letter, signed by [additional] neighbors asking the Rodgers to reconsider allowing their brother to live there. When nothing happened, the Sturgeons filed a lawsuit arguing the sex offender's presence constitutes a nuisance and prevents them from enjoying their property . . . "
According to the story this is the first time Indiana nuisance law is being applied against a human being. A Tippecanoe County judge will rule "if the Indiana nuisance law and the obstruction of free use of property can be applied in this case. The Sturgeon's lawyer told them this lawsuit should be going to court within a week or two."
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Interest rates on your student loans are going up 2% July 1. Current interest rates on your Stafford loans are 2.77%. If you consolidate before July 1 you will lock in a lower interest rate. If you haven't started the process by now please look here for some useful information.
As for paying back that monstrous debt load over the next 25 to 30 years that is a different story. No wonder they call it mortgaging our future. The monetary equivalent of the Corvette you've borrowed for will be worth a small house after all the interest is added.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
The Justice Department has decided that most health care employees can't be prosecuted for stealing personal data under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a privacy law intended to protect medical information.
According to a June 1 memo singed by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, hospitals, insurers, doctors and other health care providers that bill for their services are subject to criminal prosecution under the law. "But a hospital clerk, for example, and other employees cannot face criminal penalties because the law doesn't apply to them," according to the memo.
The new interpretation has been criticised by privacy law experts and at least one federal prosecutor who managed the one conviction under HIPAA to date.
Robert Gellman, a consultant on privacy and information policy, said the memo leaves the bulk of the health care work force outside that interpretation.
Last August, U.S. Attorney John McKay's office obtained a guilty plea from a medical technician in Seattle in the one case that reached a final judgment under HIPAA to date. The technician admited he stole the identity of a cancer patient and used the information to obtain credit cards in the patient's name. The technician then bought $9,100 worth of jewelry, video games and a barbecue grill using the cards. He was was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
The first major fallout from the Supreme Court's decision in Booker, that challenged the federal sentencing guidelines, has arisen in the form of a tricky 9th Circuit Decision. We all knew this was going to happen.