What Will Happen to Radical Professor Ward Churchill?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 7, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Unresolved Problems" segment tonight, what will happen to radical professor Ward Churchill? The University of Colorado is investigating him for alleged plagiarism and misrepresentation of his Native American heritage.

Churchill has been cleared of any wrongdoing in his outrageous statements, comparing some Americans killed on 9/11 to Nazis. —You'll remember that. — The university saying that was legitimate freedom of speech.

Joining us now from Atlanta is David Lane, the attorney for Ward Churchill.

I just want to run some stuff by you here, stuff that we found out, and you can explain. Because believe it or not, I do want to be fair to your client.


O'REILLY: Yes, I don't have anything against Churchill. I think he's a pinhead. I mean, and I disagree with his philosophy of life, but personally, I've got nothing against the guy.

Now, he graduated from Sangamon State University (search) with a master's degree in cross cultural communications in 1975. I don't know what Sangamon State University is. Do you know?

LANE: I have no idea.

O'REILLY: I have never heard of it. It's in Springfield, Illinois, or was. But it's certainly not Yale (search), all right. It's not Stanford (search) or something at that level.


O'REILLY: Would you agree?

LANE: I'd never head of it. That's the best I can do on that.

O'REILLY: We don't know anything about it. So let's just say it's a nice little college in Illinois to be fair.

LANE: We'll say that. OK.

O'REILLY: Now, he applies at the University of Colorado (search), and in his job application, he fills out an affirmative action form claiming that he is a Native American.

LANE: Right.

O'REILLY: All right. So you know that, I know that. We have the documentation.

LANE: Correct.

O'REILLY: "The Rocky Mountain News" does an investigation — "The Rocky Mountain News" is a daily newspaper in Denver — that shows Churchill has no registration in any tribal registry in the United States of America. None. What say you?

LANE: Well, what I say is I think "The Rocky Mountain News" needs to go back and recheck facts. And I'm not going to — I don't know if you're a poker player, but you don't show your cards before the money hits the table. — And so I'm not going to get into the refutation of that aspect of the University of Colorado's allegations.

O'REILLY: All right. Are you — I understand you don't want — I understand you don't want to get into specifics. Are you saying that the report in the "Rocky Mountain News" which says there is no record of Ward Churchill in any tribal registry is false? Are you saying that?

LANE: I'm saying Ward Churchill will easily be able to prove that he is, in fact, Native American.

O'REILLY: All right. We'll be looking forward to that, because if he isn't and he used affirmative action to gain his position at the University of Colorado...

LANE: There are two points to make on that. First of all, if he isn't, the next level of inquiry is he has to have known that he wasn't. OK? We're not going to get to the second part...

O'REILLY: Wait a minute. I don't understand. If you're claiming to be a Native American or anything else, you have to have some back up for that, a birth certificate or some documentation to make...

LANE: Not necessarily.

O'REILLY: Not necessarily?

LANE: The University of Colorado, for many, many years, to this day is a self-authenticating ethnicity school. Meaning, you claim to be Irish, Mr. O'Reilly, that's good enough for us.

O'REILLY: That's good enough for us until I fill out an affirmative action job application, sir.

LANE: Right. Right. But if you believe...

O'REILLY: Because you're not supposed to get preferential affirmative action treatment unless you are a bone fide minority.

LANE: Yes, that's absolutely true. But what I'm saying to you, Mr. O'Reilly, is you probably would claim Irish ethnicity or Irish heritage. And what if it turned out, goodness gracious, you know, it's all English.

O'REILLY: It doesn't matter, because I don't use my Irish heritage for securing any position at all.

LANE: Right. I understand. But if you honestly believe you're Irish then OK, you haven't committed a crime.

O'REILLY: But what if he believes he's a Martian? You know? I mean, you've got to have proof. And he does have to — all right. You just said that you're going to — you're going to show "The Rocky Mountain News" investigation isn't accurate.

LANE: Right.

O'REILLY: And I'm looking forward to that. ou're going to sit there and tell me that he walked in and thought he was an Indian.

LANE: No. I'm not telling you that. I'm saying he is. He's Native Indian. He'll be able to prove it.

O'REILLY: We're looking forward to seeing that.

Now, another bone of contention that the University of Colorado is looking into is a charge by the University of Nova Scotia (search) that Ward Churchill plagiarized the work of a professor at the university in Nova Scotia. The professor has sworn to that. And what say you?

LANE: What say I is, if you read the volume where the plagiarism allegedly occurred, it's a series of articles, authored by various people. Ward Churchill, in that book, took full credit for authoring several articles that appear in the book.

The article in question that the plagiarism was allegedly attributed to him, he didn't sign that article. It's not by Ward Churchill. It's by a group. And Ward Churchill helped compile the writings of four or five different contributors into this article.

O'REILLY: But did he mention this woman's name? And took credit for...

LANE: No, Ward Churchill did not author the piece. Therefore, he could not have plagiarized something that he did not author. And the University of Colorado will agree with that, that if you look at the authorship on the piece, it doesn't say "by Ward Churchill." It's not by him. He did not plagiarize it.

O'REILLY: All right. The other thing is that he made up a smallpox epidemic in one of his dissertations. What say you?

LANE: He did not make that up. He cited two scholars who have agreed with him.

O'REILLY: But now comes...

LANE: The issue is the number...

O'REILLY: There are government documents, just like the heritage on the Native Americans that say in 1837, there was no smallpox epidemic caused by the U.S. Army against Native Americans.

So look, I mean, you can find anybody to say anything. Facts are facts.

LANE: This is what academia's all about. You know, professors writing articles saying that other professors have no idea what they're talking about.

O'REILLY: All right.

LANE: They put them in journals. Ward Churchill can back that up. He has the back up to show that, well, you know, maybe the guy's saying he's wrong is actually the one that's wrong.

O'REILLY: All right. But I'm going by what the documents are. Final question for you.


O'REILLY: Ward Churchill sold a painting — and we're going to put the painting up on the screen — that was taken from a man named Thomas Males. The painting's almost identical. We have both paintings. Everybody's staring at them. What say you?

LANE: What say I, is Ward Churchill has repeatedly said that he had permission from the painter.

O'REILLY: Males denies it. Males says no.

LANE: No, no. He's dead.— His son is denying.

O'REILLY: His son is denying it, yes.

LANE: Ward Churchill when he painted it said he had the full permission of the...

O'REILLY: To copy a painting and sell it for money?

LANE: He sold it for $100 bucks...

O'REILLY: And an artist is going to say — an artist is going to say, "Yes, that's fine."

LANE: You can — yes, he said, "You can — you can use my work. You can do your own renditions of my work. Whatever."

O'REILLY: No problem. You could copy my stuff and sell it all day long.

LANE: You know, that painting. That painting, yes. You know. I mean, that's what...

O'REILLY: Counselor, I appreciate you being a stand-up guy and coming on and answering these questions. You've got your work cut out for you.

LANE: Oh, no.

O'REILLY: And you're welcome here any time.

LANE: I'll bet you a beer.

O'REILLY: And we'll see how this goes down.

LANE: He's going to — he's going to have a long, happy career at the University of Colorado.

O'REILLY: All right.

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