Controversial CU Prof Resigns As Department Chair

Churchill Criticized For 9/11 Remarks

The University of Colorado professor embroiled in controversy when he compared victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks to Nazis submitted his resignation Monday as a department chairman.

Ward Churchill's controversial views on victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks have stirred emotions.

Ward Churchill will continue as a member of the faculty in ethnic studies.

He submitted his resignation in a letter to Arts and Sciences Dean Todd Gleeson.

The controversy of Churchill's remarks surfaced last week when some people at a small college in New York protested his remarks in an essay he wrote after the terrorist attacks that compared the 9/11 victims to Nazi Adolph Eichmann.

Churchill said the World Trade Center victims were not innocent and deserved to die because they were a willing part of "the mighty engine of profit." He went on to describe them as "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, who organized Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's plan to exterminate Europe's Jews.

Churchill had been invited to speak at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y on Thursday. His resignation letter did not indicate that he had changed his plans to speak at the college.

Hamilton President Joan Hinde sent an e-mail to faculty members on Sunday, that said "however repugnant one might find Mr. Churchill's remarks," the college was committed to Churchill's right of free speech and would not withdraw its invitation.

Because of the expected crowd, the college moved the locations of Churchill's speech from a room that seats 300 to a building that can seat 2,000.

Regents at the CU called a special meeting Thursday to discuss concerns about Churchill's comments.

"I believe it is in the best interests of both the university and Professor Churchill that he step away from his administrative role in the department at this time," Gleeson said in a prepared statement. Churchill's term as department chair was previously scheduled to expire in June.

CU-Boulder Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano said he felt that Churchill's decision is the right one.

"While Professor Churchill has the constitutional right to express his political views, his essay on 9/11 has outraged and appalled us and the general public," DiStefano said.

In his letter to Gleeson, Churchill said, "While I am immensely proud of my administrative accomplishments in the chair's position over the past two-and-one-half years, it is my considered view that the present political climate has rendered me a liability in terms of representing either my department, the college or the university in this or any other administrative capacity."

Gleeson will meet with the department faculty soon to discuss the appointment of a new chair.

Additional Information

  • To read Churchill's complete essay, "Some People Push Back," click here
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