Judge rules against Colo. professor in 9/11 controversy

Chris Rizo Jul. 7, 2009, 2:00pm

Ward Churchill

BOULDER, Colo. (Legal Newsline)-The controversial University of Colorado professor who was fired after he likened victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to a Nazi leader will not get his job back, a judge ruled Tuesday.

In a 42-page decision, Chief Denver District Court Judge Larry Naves said the university was best to decide whether former Professor Ward Churchill should have back his $96,392-per-year tenured professorship.

"I conclude that reinstating Professor Churchill would entangle the judiciary excessively in matters that are more appropriate for academic professionals," Naves wrote.

Churchill was fired in 2007 amid a political firestorm over an essay he penned the day after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The paper, "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens," said the attacks were the result of U.S. foreign policy.

He called victims in the World Trade Center "little Eichmanns," making a reference to Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann.

In April, a jury panel of four women and two men found that Churchill was fired as a professor of ethnic studies at the Boulder campus in retaliation for his remarks. The jury deliberated for a day and a half, and awarded him just $1.

For its part, the university's board of regents said it fired 61-year-old Churchill for academic misconduct, including plagiarism. The CU Board of Regents voted 8-1 for Churchill's dismissal.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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