Attorney: Embattled professor wants to "end the madness" |

Attorney: Embattled professor wants to "end the madness"

AP Photo/Ronen ZilbermanWard Churchill

DENVER – Amid reports of a buyout, the attorney for a University of Colorado professor who likened some of the World Trade Center victims to Nazis said Monday such a deal makes sense because his client wants to “end the madness.”Ward Churchill’s attorney, David Lane, added he has not been contacted by the university to discuss a possible buyout.”It’s probably an option that makes a lot of sense,” Lane said. “They want him gone. He wants to end the madness. I think it would be in everybody’s best interest to come up with some compromise.”

University Regent Michael Carrigan declined to confirm or deny media reports that the school is considering an offer to Churchill that would pay him to leave the university. Churchill, a tenured ethnic studies professor, is at the center of a firestorm over an essay he wrote comparing some of those who died Sept. 11 to Adolf Eichmann, an organizer of the Holocaust.But Carrigan said, “Given the legal complexities involved, the university would be foolish to exclude any possible solution to resolve the dispute.”Churchill, through his wife, declined comment.Churchill’s essay, written hours after the 2001 attacks, attracted little attention until January, when it resurfaced after he was invited to speak at a small college in New York. Since then, Gov. Bill Owens has called for him to be fired, several schools have canceled speeches he was scheduled to make and CU launched a review of his scholarship to see if he overstepped the bounds of academic freedom.

The review, by acting Chancellor Phil DiStefano, is expected to be finished next week. DiStefano will then decide whether to begin the long process of firing Churchill.DiStefano’s spokeswoman, Pauline Hale, said he had no comment on the review or the possibility of a buyout offer.Regent Tom Lucero said he had not heard any discussion of a potential buyout and declined to say whether he would support one. Regent Cindy Carlisle declined to comment, and others on the nine-member board did not return calls.Former Regent Jim Martin said both the university and Churchill would be wrong to settle a dispute over principles with cash.

It would mean “that political speech can be silenced with enough money,” he said.Martin also said the university cannot afford a settlement that he estimated would run into millions of dollars.”The university doesn’t have two nickels to rub together. They sure don’t have the money to buy out a tenure contract,” said Martin, who declined to run for re-election last November after two six-year terms.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User