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University Chairman Wins Suit After Controversial Comment on 9/11 Victims

A Denver jury has decided Thursday that Ward Churchill has been wrongfully dismissed from his job at the University of Colorado after causing national pandemonium when he referred to Sept. 11 terrorist attack victims as “little Eichmanns.”

Churchill, who was the chairman of the ethnic studies department at the university, was fired from his job in 2005 after the university launched an investigation into whether or not an essay written by Churchill was protected by free speech.

During the investigation, allegations arose saying that Churchill had committed plagiarism and academic misconduct in other writings that launched a second investigation. Churchill was then fired when a faculty report concluded that he had “plagiarized and falsified parts of his scholarly work on the persecution of American Indians.” (New York Times)

According to the Denver Post, Colorado University counsel Patrick O’Rourke said that the decision to dismiss Churchill from the university was based solely on the findings regarding Churchill’s plagiarism and academic misconduct and had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 essay.

“You cannot plagiarize, you cannot falsify, you cannot fabricate,” said O’Rourke. (Denver Post)

A Denver jury believed that the reason for Churchill’s firing had been for other reasons, however, when it agreed last week that the reason for Churchill’s firing was because of his political views. Churchill was awarded $1 in damages.

The decision to reinstate Churchill at the University of Colorado will be made sometime in the coming months as Judge Larry J. Naves of Denver District Court will either reinstate Churchill to his respective position or order the university to pay Churchill an annual salary for a period of time. (New York Times)

The essay, titled “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” criticized American economic and foreign policies. Churchill compared some of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack victims to Nazi Adolf Eichmann, who constructed the extermination of the Jews during World War II.