Leroy Keller Center for the Study of the First Amendment
Home Books Directors Contact Links

The Keller Center for the First Amendment
CU Political Science Dept., CB 333
Director: Prof. David R. Mapel, 303-492-6662

A Statement

As faculty of the University of Colorado, we share in the sadness and anger occasioned by Ward Churchill's article about September11th. We are also heartened to see so much speech that honors those who were killed and that condemns those who were responsible for the attacks. This sort of counter-speech is often the gift of the speech that we abhor.

Knowing the frailties of human beings all too well, the framers of our Constitution denied the government the right to limit freedom of speech and trusted citizens to think for themselves. As professors, we also trust CU students to respond to ideas on their own merits. Over time, academic freedom has come to join freedom of speech, press, assembly and religion as an essential component of constitutional liberty. As the Supreme Court noted in Keyishian v. Board of Regents (1967), "Our Nation is deeply committed to safeguarding academic freedom, which is of transcendent value to all of us and not merely to the teachers concerned. That freedom is therefore a special concern of the First Amendment, which does not tolerate laws that cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom."

While a law abridging speech is not at issue with respect to Professor Churchill, academic freedom and freedom of political speech more generally certainly are at stake. In particular, the proposal made to review all departments and curricula at CU is one that must be rejected as incompatible with academic freedom, as are all efforts to terminate
Churchill's employment on the basis of the political content of his remarks. While we feel deeply offended by Professor. Churchill's comments and regret the pain they have caused, as a matter of principle we must stand by his right to make them.

Board of Directors, Keller Center for the Study of the First Amendment
Prof. David Mapel, Political Science
Prof. Vanessa Baird, Political Science
Prof. Horst Mewes, Political Science
Prof. Karen Tracy, Communication
Prof. Gerard Hauser, Communication

2002 David Mapel and Neal MeierPolitical ScienceUniversity of Colorado Home BooksDirectorsContactLinks