Thursday, November 25, 2010

U. Colorado Professor Ward Churchill loses wrongful termination case on appeal

Professor Ward Churchill, who became the poster-child for academic freedom - or scholarly malfeasance depending on which party you represented, has lost his legal appeal challenging the U. of Colorado's decision to terminate the tenured professor.  As reported by the Denver Post:

The Colorado Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court decision denying University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill's effort to get his job back.

The court ruled that Denver District Judge Larry Naves was right to direct a verdict in favor of the university and to find that the university was entitled to "quasi-judicial immunity."

. . . .

Churchill's termination came after an essay he wrote that likened some victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to a World War II Nazi official. CU investigated whether his essay was protected under the First Amendment and found that it was. But while the investigation was underway, academics came forward and accused Churchill of plagiarism and fraud in scholarly writings, which led to his termination.

Churchill sued the university and was awarded $1 in damages by Denver jurors who determined that he was fired in retaliation for his speech.

But then-Chief Judge Naves, who has since left the bench, decided not to give Churchill his job back and set aside the jury's verdict. In a decision that was left until after the trial to decide, Naves also ruled that CU's regents, who are elected, acted as a "quasi- judicial" panel that had immunity from the lawsuit.

You can read more courtesy of the Denver Post here.
Hat tip to the Chronicle of Higher Ed.

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