Churchill Wants His Job Back At CU

Churchill Asking Colorado Court Of Appeals To Give Him Job

Former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill is asking the Colorado Court of Appeals to give him his job back after a jury ruled last year that his firing was politically motivated.

Churchill said Wednesday the University of Colorado Board of Regents violated his civil rights when it convened a judicial process to dismiss him after board members said they wanted Churchill fired.

Churchill said his dismissal has had a chilling effect on CU professors who fear the same fate if they offer controversial views. They're afraid to acknowledge that they're afraid "because in effect they're accusing themselves of intellectual cowardice," he said.

Churchill wrote an essay after the 2001 terrorist attacks calling the World Trade Center victims "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi leader who orchestrated the Holocaust.

The university fired Churchill in 2007 on the plagiarism charges and other research misconduct allegations. None of the allegations were about the Sept. 11 essay.

A Denver jury ruled in 2009 that CU unlawfully fired Churchill but awarded him only $1 in damages. His lawyer, David Lane, told the three-judge panel that Churchill deserves a new trial because the judge ignored evidence that the board of regents was out to get Churchill before dismissal hearings began.

"It was all but a torchlight parade to the doorstep of Regent's Hall. They called him reprehensible," Lane told the panel.

After the regents lost their case in court, they immediately ran to a judge asking for immunity, claiming they were acting in a judicial capacity, Lane said. They could have made that argument before the trial began but chose not to because they wanted a show trial, he said.

CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke told the justices there was no bad faith concerning the regents' investigation and that public employers have the same rights as private companies to regulate conduct in their workplaces.

O'Rourke said professors also know their work is subject to question and scrutiny as part of the academic process.