Of Cops and Bumper Stickers: Notes Toward a Theory of Selective Prosecution
11 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2008
Date Written: June, 27 2008
The author, Professor Richard Delgado, takes as his point of departure a remark by the chair of the University of Colorado committee that voted academic sanctions against Ward Churchill. This essay explores the role of retaliatory motives in academic misconduct cases. In Churchill's case, Colorado authorities delved deeply and painstakingly into Churchill's publications only when it appeared that the state could not fire him from his tenured position for his inflammatory remarks on the victims of the 9/11 tragedy. What bearing should the investigation's relation to the hue and cry that led to it have on its own legitimacy?
Professor Delgado examines various possible frameworks for analyzing cases like these and argues that the committee chair's way of seeing the matter was the incorrect framework.
Keywords: civil rights, academic freedom, academic sanctions, fair employment practice, freedom of speech, First Amendment, Ward Churchill, University of Colorado
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