[News] Churchill v. CU - Update

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jul 8 10:16:32 EDT 2009


July 7, 2009

On April 2, 2009, after hearing evidence for a 
month, a Denver jury unanimously found that Ward 
Churchill had been fired from the University of 
Colorado not because of research misconduct but 
in retaliation for speech protected by the First Amendment.

After more than four years of political attacks 
on Ward Churchill, a clear statement had been 
made:  the University of Colorado had violated 
the U.S. Constitution when it fired Churchill, a 
tenured full professor of American Indian Studies.

The normal remedy in such cases?  Reinstatement.

Today, July 7, 2009, Judge Larry Naves of the 
Denver District Court threw out the jury’s 
verdict, adopting the University’s argument that 
the Regents have “quasi-judicial” immunity from 
such lawsuits.  In essence, this means that the 
Regents and University administrators are free to 
continue to violating the Constitution.

In a 42-page opinion lifted wholesale from the 
University’s pleadings, Judge Naves went on to 
explain why Ward Churchill should not be given 
front pay, back pay, or be reinstated.

All of these are irrelevant, of course, if the 
jury’s verdict is not upheld. But the fact that 
the judge went to such pains to adopt the 
University’s arguments – which often directly 
contravened the factual record in this case – speaks volumes.

This ruling simply confirms what we have observed 
so often.  When given access to the facts, 
regular people on the street can make clear, 
reasoned decisions that uphold constitutional 
values.  It is rare, however, to find persons in 
positions of power who will not bow to political pressure.

Attorney David Lane will, of course, appeal this 
decision.  Ward Churchill’s reaction?  “I can’t 
think of any way to improve upon Steve Earle’s 
line from The Hard Way:  ‘There are some who 
break and bend.  I’m the other kind.’”



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