[News] Supreme Court Sets Date in Ward Churchill Case for June 7

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 24 16:31:32 EDT 2012

Supreme Court Sets Date in Ward Churchill Case for June 7

By Carol Berry May 24, 2012

Oral arguments will be heard by the Colorado Supreme Court June 7 in 
the case of controversial former University of Colorado (CU) 
professor Ward Churchill, fired by CU in 2007 for "research 
misconduct" but in reality, he contends, for a 9/11-related essay in 
violation of his free speech rights.

Churchill, formerly of CU's ethnic studies faculty, was fired after 
public attention was directed to an essay he had written that seemed 
to implicate some World Trade Center workers in U.S. foreign policy 
that he contended preceded and contributed to the attack.

The court has been asked to review a Colorado Court of Appeals ruling 
in 2011 under circumstances that include whether CU's detailed and 
intensive scrutiny into Churchill's scholarship violated his First 
Amendment rights.

He contends the state appeals court "did not address the fact that 
the investigation at issue was accompanied by threats of discipline 
and termination" and that the acting CU chancellor and several 
regents acknowledged an investigatory committee was trying to find 
cause for dismissal.

Also under review are whether CU and the CU Board of Regents have 
quasi-judicial immunity from lawsuit when they fire a tenured 
professor and whether Churchill should have been reinstated after a 
jury decided unanimously he was fired for protected free speech 
rather than for research misconduct.

Although Churchill's attorney, civil rights lawyer David Lane, said 
earlier the chances of the state's high court reviewing the case were 
"slim," legal observers felt a review was possible because the issue 
of whether an investigation alone constitutes an adverse employment 
action has not been resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court.

His appeal has been supported by friend-of-the-court briefs by the 
American Civil Liberties Union, the American Association of 
University Professors, the National Lawyers Guild, and others.

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