Churchill Speech At Wisconsin University Given Green Light

Tenured CU Professor To Talk About Racism, American Indians

A University of Colorado professor under fire for his comments about the 9/11 terrorist attacks will be allowed to speak at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater next month, the chancellor announced Thursday afternoon.

Ward Churchill (pictured, left) will talk about racism and American Indians on March 1 at the college, 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee. His speech was scheduled as part of Native Pride Week at the campus.

UW-Whitewater Chancellor Jack Miller said that no taxpayer money will be used to pay Churchill's honorarium or travel expenses. He said private money would be raised to cover the $4,000 needed to pay Churchill.

Miller called some of Churchill's comments "grossly inappropriate" but said, "I side with the First Amendment principles."

The decision by Miller sparked outrage Thursday among Wisconsin lawmakers who said they would attempt to block the move.

State Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said he will appeal to the University of Wisconsin's system president. Nass also began circulating a formal resolution to condemn Miller's decision to allow Churchill to speak on campus.

Nass said the decision defied common sense and questioned why the university would allow someone to speak on campus that had spewed what he called anti-American hate speech.

"The bottom line is common sense has to prevail here," said Nass, who graduated from Whitewater in 1978 and received his master's degree in 1990.

Previously-scheduled speeches by Churchill were canceled by Hamilton College, Wheaton College, and Eastern Washington University.

Churchill came under fire after it became widely reported that an essay he wrote likened some people in the World Trade Center to "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, who ensured the smooth running of the Nazi system.

Churchill made the comparison in an essay written hours after the 2001 World Trade Center attacks and later revised for a book.

The professor later clarified his comments, saying the term "little Eichmanns" used to describe the victims didn't include food- service workers, janitors, children, firefighters or passers-by in the twin towers.

The essay and follow-up book attracted little attention until Churchill was invited to speak last month at Hamilton College. That is when a college reporter, looking into Churchill's writings, discovered the comments and re-published them.

The University of Colorado's Board of Regents is currently investigating whether it can remove Churchill, a tenured professor. Churchill, a longtime American Indian Movement activist, has resigned as chairman of the university's ethnic studies department.

Colorado Gov. Bill Owens has called for Churchill's dismissal.

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