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A Remarkable Turn of Events in the Prof. Bradford (Indiana University Law School) Matter:

I blogged in June about Prof. Bradford and the Indiana University (Indianapolis) Law School, who claimed that he was being discriminated against by the faculty for his political views: Several people pointed me to this Indianapolis Star story:

In 2001, [William C.] Bradford was hired as an associate professor at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. . . . [H]e's under fire, he said, because his ideas about the war on terror do not conform to views held by [two tenured professors]. . . . Bradford said the two [professors] voted consistently to deny him tenure, despite good academic ratings.

In March 2004, he said, he was told during a review that someone described him as "uncollegial."

That's the new kiss-of-death buzzword. "Faculty seeking to get rid of others claim they are not collegial," Bradford said. . . .

Bradford wrote a defense of the flag after 9/11 — one that hung in the school lobby until some faculty objected.

He refused to sign a letter sent by [one of the professors] defending Ward Churchill. He's the Colorado professor who called victims of 9/11 "little Eichmanns." . . .

Inside Higher Ed, however, reports:

[A]s Bradford's complaints grew louder, his story unraveled. It has now become clear that Bradford lied about, among other things, his military service. University officials confirmed Monday that Bradford — who did not respond to e-mail and voice messages and who hasn't commented on the latest events — has resigned, effective January 1. . . .

In September, Lucas Sayre, a second year law student and the head of Indy Law Net, noticed that Bradford's comments were coming from the same IP address as posts from other user names. Sayre, who had taken a course with Bradford and said he was a great professor, questioned Bradford about it, and Bradford admitted to using fake names to post "cheap shots, schoolyard bickering," Sayre said.

In October, Bradford promised the blog audience that the person who endowed Roisman's chair was upset at her behavior and would strip her of the chair, and that Judge David J. Dreyer of Marion Superior Court had issued a temporary restraining order barring professors from speaking ill of or taking any actions against Bradford. Roisman did not lose her chair, and there never was a restraining order. . . . Court records and sources both indicate that Bradford never filed for any sort of injunction. . . .

There's also this Indianapolis Star story, which Inside Higher Ed refers to as well:

One of Bradford's allies, Professor Henry C. Karlson, pointed out that Bradford was the real deal — awarded the Silver Star and a major in the Special Forces. Bradford said he was in the infantry and military intelligence. He fought in Desert Storm and Bosnia, he said.

On the law school's Web site and its Viewbook, Bradford was profiled as being in the Army infantry from 1990 to 2001. He wore a Silver Star lapel pin around campus. He had a major's gold-leaf insignia plate on his vehicle. . . .

Independently, [a source of mine] and I requested Bradford's service record from the Army. It showed he was in the Army Reserve from Sept. 30, 1995, to Oct 23, 2001. He was discharged as a second lieutenant. He had no active duty. He was in military intelligence, not infantry. He received no awards. . . .

If these factual accounts are accurate, then this is obviously very bad: Prof. Bradford was right to quit; I doubt that he'll get a job at another university any time soon; and, while I'm surely no expert on legal ethics, I do think that lying about one's military experience would justify bar discipline, though I don't know whether in practice state bars impose such discipline (and how much they impose).

Yes, I know that historian Joseph Ellis got only a one-year suspension from his teaching job for having lied about his military record. But: (1) It doesn't follow that all other professors at all other universities should be treated according to the most lenient past example available; (2) the lies here, if they are indeed lies, are more varied and also partly derogatory towards particular other people (which is rightly seen as worse than a mere lie about one's past behavior), which thus bespeaks even a more general untrustworthiness than does Prof. Ellis's behavior. (3) A professor's stellar academic achievements — which Prof. Ellis is generally seen as having had — certainly don't excuse his misconduct, but they may in close cases be relevant to the magnitude of the punishment. The good we do doesn't justify the bad, but it is rightly weighed in the balance when our overall characters are judged.

I e-mailed Prof. Bradford to ask him for his side of the story (I originally called, but his former assistant told me that an e-mail would be likelier to reach him quickly), and received this response, which I post in a redacted form at Prof. Bradford's request:

There is indeed another side of this story — what has been written is not so much false as simply a series of partial truths and minor errors, but the result is that the story is very misleading and casts me in a negative light, quite unfairly. Because I do not want to reveal confidences [related to certain events that Prof. Bradford asked me to keep confidential -EV] . . . I'm unable to mount a substantive defense. Just please know that if the full story could be told the result would be that I would be perceived as . . . an imperfect but honorable person. I wish I could say more, but unfortunately I can't.

Thanks to Prof. Paul Secunda (Workplace Prof Blog) for the pointer.

Richard Riley (mail):
Ordinarily, donors who endow chairs at colleges and universities don't have the right to "fire" the holders of the chairs. Once the money is given, the institution decides who is to hold and retain the endowed professorship. Universities may confer informally with living donors about filling an endowed chair, but an unhappy donor's remedy is to ask for the money back (as Yale gave a big gift back to the Bass family), not to be able to remove the professor from the chair. So that's an odd corner of Bradford's claim.
12.6.2005 6:31pm
anonymous22:
When you create a sympathy market for victims of discrimination, you also create a huge moral hazard-- opportunities for cheaters. Unfortunately, people will cheat if given the opportunity.
12.6.2005 6:33pm
Buck Turgidson (mail):
Ellis's case is considerably different. He never used his alleged (and nonexistent) military status in employment, he did not lie about it on the resume and did not use it to angle for tenure. He started using it later to embellish his accounts in classes, which is ethically questionable (ok, reprehensible), but is hardly the same kind of misconduct as Bradford's. Now, if only Bradford's academic record is as fictitious as his military one, he's bound to become the Right Wing's [gasp!] Ward Churchill. Watch for O'Reilly and Hannitty singing praises to the guy whose record is being destroyed by godless liberals. Hey, maybe he'll be promoted to the White House staff along with James Guckert! That would be a riot! As the WH rhetoric is reaching Feaver-pitch (pun intended), they could always use another professor with military expertise.
12.6.2005 6:41pm
Nunzio (mail):
I think a fitting punishment for both Ellis and Bradford should be to make them serve active duty combat for a few years.
12.6.2005 6:51pm
Fishbane:
Ah, but he's on the Right Team, so we should have sympathy. Not like he beat himself up or anything.
12.6.2005 7:01pm
xx:
"Sure, Prof. Mirecki wasn't the one telling those earlier lies, but his story falls into an all-too-familiar pattern."

The all-too-familiar pattern of professors chipping their own teeth, somehow bruising their own upper backs, spending four hours in the ER lying to doctors, and filling phony police reports so that they would have a good story to tell?
12.6.2005 7:47pm
SuperChimp:
Classic. Gotta' love the 'I'm innocent but I can't tell you why' defense. Good stuff.
12.6.2005 9:29pm
Cornellian (mail):
I'd be a bit more impressed if he'd give some indication of whether he ever plans to reveal this exculpatory information he's sitting on, and if so, under what circumstances.

If he says he'll present his case at some kind of university arbitration hearing and he's waiting until then to do so, that's one thing, but if he just says "it's a secret and I can't tell you why I'm not really as bad as I look" then my inference is he hasn't got the guts to own up to what he's done.
12.6.2005 9:34pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
Buck -


Watch for O'Reilly and Hannitty singing praises to the guy whose record is being destroyed by godless liberals.


I'm curious -- if O'Reilly and Hannity don't sing this guy's praises, would it temper your obvious distaste for conservatives? I mean, would you give them props for handling things the right way?

- AJ

P.S. I'm aware that O'Reilly is considered a conservative bogeyman among liberals, but I had the understanding that he does not consider himself a conservative, nor do other conservatives (many of whom seem to consider him simply a loudmouth bully). Is that correct? I'm going on impressions here -- I've never seen his show, nor Hannity's for that matter.
12.6.2005 10:46pm
WM student:
I just took Bradford's final exam for 1st year property. Man it was long.

Anyway, I chatted with Bradford in office hours a while back, and briefly talked about his military service and 9/11 and such.
My impression, from firsthand knowledge, is that he is telling the truth and is an honorable man.
12.6.2005 11:13pm
Teller (mail):
O'Reilly probably doesn't think he is a conservative, just like Dan Rather probably doesn't think he is liberal.


I watch O'Reilly almost every day. He is not nowhere as conservative as Hannity but has right wing views where it matters:

1. War on terror, solid guy here. For all his boorishness he seems to grasp the deep problem, that the elites in the US "don't get it".
2. Christianity, right to celebrate chrismas even though the public sector has taken over the public space etc.
3. Anti-Americanism.
4. Left wing dominance in academia (he often has people like this lying professor on his show).

5. He is a populist where it comes to economic issues, which often irritates me and other free marketers, but compared to the average Socialist on CNN or NYT Bill is right of center.

Left when it comes to many social issues, gas prices. Also one reason he is popular is the unpredictability (some would say ideological incoherence)

Actually O'Reilly is just a patriot with high levels of testosterone, and above average but not stellar IQ. He thinks he is independent and tries to be balanced. But after 9/11 he went to the right, as most people did.

But he stayed there, enraged by how fast the lessons were forgotten. I would also guess the demonization by the left can't have helped.

I will say this: It gives me a lot of pleasure when O'Reilly denies being rightwing with a straight face, because it drives the left crazy. This is exactly what the rest of the media does to us, solid liberals who never admit it. "we have a bias towards the truth" crap.
12.6.2005 11:23pm
Fred (mail):
"Now, if only Bradford's academic record is as fictitious as his military one, he's bound to become the Right Wing's [gasp!] Ward Churchill."

The difference being that the "Right Wing's...Ward Churchill" will fade into obscurity and is unlikely to be heard from again. The Right has demonstrated over and over again that they police their own. You won't see that from the Left.
12.6.2005 11:33pm
Conrad (mail):
The man claimed to have been a major, assigned to the special forces, serving in combat and to have been awarded the Silver Star. Each and every one of those claims has been proven false. Yet he trumpeted that information publicly to attack others. I can't conceive of any confidences or confidential information that would excuse or explain that.

Nor, I suspect, will we ever hear the details of this purported defence.
12.7.2005 12:04am
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
The same thing happened with a superior court judge in California a while back -- he claimed to have been a CIA killer in Laos, if memory served. IIRC he later claimed to have something called "pseudologica fantasia" or some such. Maybe it's catching.
12.7.2005 12:14am
jackp (mail):
The same thing happened with a superior court judge in California a while back...

And with that guy who was running for President. Claimed he was running guns to Cambodia for Christmas or something. I wonder what ever happened to him?
12.7.2005 3:42am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
This sounds like the Rafael Palmeiro defense to me. That's ineffective as spin, and ineffective on the merits.

The difference being that the "Right Wing's...Ward Churchill" will fade into obscurity and is unlikely to be heard from again. The Right has demonstrated over and over again that they police their own. You won't see that from the Left.

That's funny-- when you said that he'll fade into obscurity, I thought you were going to argue, "because there's no left-wing attack press to keep this pissant in the news, he'll be forgotten tomorrow, unlike the pissant Ward Churchill."
12.7.2005 7:17am
Steveo987 (mail):
What a horrible defense. "I was lying then (about big things), but now I'm telling the truth. I just won't tell you what I'm telling the truth about, but trust me."

I bet he has a really good-looking girlfriend, but you've never seen her because she lives in Texas.
12.7.2005 8:27am
Per Son:
Actrually, his girlfriend lives in Canada, and he met her on a family vacation. He forgot her name though.
12.7.2005 8:38am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Let it be recorded that I had a nonpartisan response for once. Nutjobs are evenly distributed across the political spectrum.
12.7.2005 9:19am
Justin (mail):
The difference being that the "Right Wing's...Ward Churchill" will fade into obscurity and is unlikely to be heard from again. The Right has demonstrated over and over again that they police their own. You won't see that from the Left.

I have NEVER in my life EVER hear of Ward Churchill personally supported by anyone in the left (some in the academia have opposed the challenge to tenure by the University of Colorado, and of course, were forced to discuss Churchill in that light. It's the RIGHT-WING that keeps bringing him up. I'm not going to play the morally superior game and claim that I can predict the future, and that the left will let this embarrassment fade.
12.7.2005 9:53am
Mr. Mandias (mail) (www):
What a rousing defense the good professor has made. I'm convinced!

Giving the devil his due, though, he at least has resigned and isn't touring the country giving well-paid lectures. Unlike, say, Mr. Ward Churchill.
12.7.2005 10:36am
Buck Turgidson (mail):
The Right has demonstrated over and over again that they police their own. You won't see that from the Left.

I had to do a double take on this one before collapsing on the floor in fits of uncontrollable laughter. If you believe in psychaitry, you need serious help, my friend. If you don't believe in psychiatry, your condition is permanent.
12.7.2005 11:34am
James Stephenson (mail):
Ward Churchil is still getting speaking engagements at Universities.

This guy even without the liberal press will not get any speaking engagements anywhere, except maybe Liar's anonymous.

James
12.7.2005 11:52am
Kieran (mail) (www):
I chatted with Bradford in office hours a while back, and briefly talked about his military service and 9/11 and such. My impression, from firsthand knowledge, is that he is telling the truth and is an honorable man.

Unfortuntately everyone else's impression, based on publicly available military records, is that he told big flaming lies about his service. Now he says he can exonerate himself but alas is not in a position to reveal the information that would explain everything. So I guess the question is, are you going to believe the fine words and firm handshake of an honest looking guy, or the records kept by the organization he claimed to have a stellar record with? Tough call, I suppose.
12.7.2005 12:37pm
Nick (www):
I'm sorry to nitpick, but given your last Bushism post... I just can't help myself.

"If these factual accounts are accurate"... If the accounts are factual, doesn't that make them accurate by definition? I suppose that accurate can be different from factual, in that factual accounts might leave out details making them less accurate... but it does seem redundant, and kind of funny. Maybe its a Volokhism?

To the actual meat of the post... I would say that if he was posting bickering posts in a fake name, that would definitely be not colegial, and although I'm not a member of a university, might cause problems. It would be troubling.
12.7.2005 1:24pm
Deron (mail):
As someone who participated in the ILN blog debates with Prof. Bradford, I feel somewhat duty-bound to mention that not all of his writings under an assumed name could be considered "schoolyard bickering."

I'm not a law student, or at IU-Indy at all, but was directed to ILN and encouraged to post by someone else. I noticed Prof. Bradford's tendency to post factual statements and then decline to provide any source or evidence for them. When he was asked to do so, he either made more factual statements, some which apparently contradicted his earlier statements, or angrily challenged his interlocutors to get the evidence for his statements ourselves. I accepted the challenge, and could neither verify nor disprove anything he said, largely because no one was willing to comment on the issue.

However, Prof. Bradford was also posting as other people not only to throw invective at others, but to make it appear as though he had more supporters than he did. This might have included him posting as me to announce that I recognized he was completely in the right after investigating the faculty members with whom he had a dispute. He apparently did write a post that said to me, "vai a morte ammazzatto, tu e la tua madre." This is likely a Sicilian form of "f--- you," but could literally be translated as "go get killed, you and your mother." (In a less temperate moment while debating someone else on the board, I had suggested that this person couldn't understand English and thus I would try writing in Italian.)

When I drew Lucas's attention to the false post and the possibly threatening post, Lucas immediately took them down, and he is to be commended for that. However, I don't think they could be fairly described with the relatively innocuous term used in the story, particularly since Prof. Bradford's apology for his impersonations and insults struck many as ungenuine. For the record, I remain open to any evidence Prof. Bradford would care to share with us about the situation.
12.7.2005 1:36pm
Aaron:
Fred:

"The difference being that the "Right Wing's...Ward Churchill" will fade into obscurity and is unlikely to be heard from again. The Right has demonstrated over and over again that they police their own. You won't see that from the Left."

Police their own. I see. So when can we expect Pat Robertson to fade into obscurity? Or that felonious pill-pooper Rush?

(Holding my breath...)
12.7.2005 2:21pm
Mr. Mandias (mail) (www):
Uh, the only folks who ever talk about Pat Robertson are on the left. Do you see conservatives touting him? Nope.
12.7.2005 7:27pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
Mandias -

Exactly. The one time I can ever remember mainstream conservatives talking about Robertson is a thread that came up on The Corner one time. The subject? How loony Robertson is, how little influence he has even among evangelical Christians (one of which I am not), and why some in the mainstream media and elsewhere insist on holding him up as some kind of paragon of conservatism.

I think "all-purpose fundamentalist bogeyman" is probably the best descriptor at this point.

- AJ
12.7.2005 7:33pm
Reader (mail):
There are some questions I have about all this. Did Bradford lie about his military service on his applications for college, both law schools (JD Miami and LLM Harvard) and Northwestern (Ph.D.)? Did he lie on the bar application for any state bar membership he has? Those are pretty serious documents to lie on, for my money.

What was he doing all those years he claimed to have been in the Infantry? And why go out of his way to have insignia on his car indicating he was a major and to wear a Silver Star pin on his person, if there is some kind of big secret about his military service?
12.7.2005 9:36pm
tefta (mail):
I think I have the answer. It was revealed on the TV show, "E-Ring" last night.

Our hero, who was an undercover, buried-so-deep operative, has no paper trail, so when he needs medical treatment, there is no record his being in the military and he's refused. On TV, the beautiful blonde lawyer lady gets to the bottom of his problem and figures out a way for him to get the medical treatment he needed and keep his record from being exposed. She got one of his fellow clandestine agents to file an affidavit corroborating his medical condition and that did the trick.

The good professor was probably an officer in the same kind of outfit, so his record can not be revealed even to save his good name.
12.8.2005 1:10pm