Professor enmeshed in flap over collegiality
William C. Bradford is a patriot, a veteran and an Apache Indian.
But is he "collegial"?
More on that in a bit. He fought in Desert Storm and Bosnia-Herzegovina, served as a major in the U.S. Army Special Forces and received the Silver Star.
Now the 39-year-old legal scholar is engaged in a battle on the home front -- political correctness in academia.
In 2001, Bradford was hired as an associate professor at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. His expertise is international law, federal Indian law and national security/foreign relations law. He has four degrees, including one from Harvard Law.
But he's under fire, he said, because his ideas about the war on terror do not conform to views held by Professors Mary Harter Mitchell, 52, and Florence Wagman Roisman, 66.
They are tenured, a status Bradford is seeking. Bradford said the two women have 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 Roisman defending Ward Churchill. He's the Colorado professor who called victims of 9/11 "little Eichmanns."
Roisman would not comment specifically on Bradford's collegiality or lack thereof. She denied his politics was the issue.
Ruth Holladay, Indianapolis Star Metro section columnist, December 4, 2005:
Truth comes out about professor's background
William C. Bradford has resigned as an associate professor at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, effective Jan. 1.
He was featured in this space June 26, when he claimed that a faculty committee had voted against him for tenure.
Bradford, 39, maintained that two left-leaning professors were leading the charge for political reasons. They disliked him because he was an Army veteran who supported the war, he said.
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.
After my column ran portraying Bradford as a victim of a politically correct agenda, I was contacted by retired Army Lt. Col. Keith R. Donnelly, a recent law school graduate, West Point graduate and Gulf War veteran.
Donnelly had long been suspicious of Bradford's background, he said. What really piqued his attention was the Silver Star claim -- "it is a pretty high award for valor, and not many were awarded in Desert Storm."
Independently, Donnelly 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.
Meanwhile, Bradford promoted himself. He blogged on the law school's student Web site. He did radio interviews. He went national on "The O'Reilly Factor." David Horowitz, a champion for conservatives, took up his cause.
When I asked Bradford in late summer about the discrepancy between his record and his claims, he responded with a story that he said could not be made public.
In September, Bradford admitted on the law school blog that he had been assuming names and posting comments in support of himself.
Ruth Holladay was, for many years, the Star's religion writer. The religion column, generally home to fluffy pieces about church outreach and such, became pretty aggressively political and evangelical in outlook under her byline. Her local politics column, by contrast, has become reasonably balanced, especially since Gannett bought the paper from the Pulliam family. The use of evangelical buzzwords like "unchurched" has fallen off dramatically.
Still, reading that first story you see the old "it fits into my worldview so odds are it's true" approach that brings you so many entries at Snopes with a right-wing/religious theme. It's called being credulous. It's excused in this case because it's her byline, and she's the one who got burned. But not just because a source lied to her. It's also because she believed that attributing one side of an internecine squabble was justified if left-wing academics were on the other side.
Then again, she owned up, which I'm betting is more than Horowitz or O'Reilly will do.