Churchill loses bid to reclaim job |

Churchill loses bid to reclaim job

DENVER – A judge has refused to reinstate a University of Colorado professor who was fired on plagiarism charges after he likened some Sept. 11 victims to a Nazi.

If it stands, Tuesday’s ruling means Ward Churchill cannot return to the classroom even though a jury ruled in April that his firing was politically motivated.

Churchill wrote an essay after the 2001 terrorist attacks calling the World Trade Center victims “little Eichmanns,” a reference to Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi leader who orchestrated the Holocaust.

University officials were pressured to fire Churchill after that essay gained wide attention in 2005, but they concluded they couldn’t because of First Amendment protections.

However, they launched an investigation into the research behind his other writings, and in 2007 he was fired on the plagiarism charges and other research misconduct allegations.

Churchill sued, and jurors ruled in his favor in April, agreeing his firing was improper.

Under Colorado law, the decision on whether to reinstate Churchill was left up to the judge, Larry J. Naves of Denver District Court.

Naves ruled Tuesday that the decision by the university’s governing Board of Regents “occurred with sufficient procedural protections.” He also noted that jurors awarded Churchill only $1 in damages.

Churchill’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call. University officials planned to issue a statement later Tuesday.

The university vigorously opposed Churchill’s reinstatement, saying his firing was justified and that if he did return, the relationship between him and the university “would not be an amicable one.”

University officials also said they feared other teachers would leave if Churchill returned.

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