Gov. Owens Letter Calls For Churchill To Step Down

February 1, 2005

Dear Friends:

We have come to a teaching moment at the University of Colorado. I applaud every person on the University of Colorado campus who has come to speak out against the indecent, insensitive and inappropriate comments and writings of Ward Churchill.

All decent people, whether Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, should denounce the views of Ward Churchill. Not only are his writings outrageous and insupportable, they are at odds with the facts of history. The thousands of innocent people -- and innocent they were -- who were murdered on September 11 were murdered by evil cowards Indeed, if anyone could possibly be compared to the evildoers of Nazi Germany, it is the terrorists of the 21st century who have an equally repugnant disregard for innocent human life.

No one wants to infringe on Mr. Churchill’s right to express himself. But we are not compelled to accept his pro-terrorist views at state taxpayer subsidy nor under the banner of the University of Colorado. Ward Churchill besmirches the University and the excellent teaching, writing and research of its faculty.

Ideas have consequences, and words have meaning. If there is one lesson that we hope that all Coloradans take from this sad case -- and especially our students -- it is that civility and appropriate conduct are important. Mr. Churchill’s views are not simply anti-American. They are at odds with simple decency, and antagonistic to the beliefs and conduct of civilized people around the world. His views are far outside the mainstream of civil discourse and useful academic work.

His resignation as chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department was a good first step. We hope that he will follow this step by resigning his position on the faculty of the University of Colorado.

Sincerely,

Bill Owens