Hoffman hints at tenure changes at CU
DENVER – As a decision nears on whether to fire a controversial professor, University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman hinted Tuesday that a proposal to change tenure may be in the works.Speaking to Republican state lawmakers, Hoffman fended off questions about tenure, pointing out that the university’s governing Board of Regents will meet Wednesday and Thursday and saying she didn’t want to “steal anyone’s thunder.””Give us a few days,” Hoffman said.She did not elaborate. Her spokeswoman, Michele McKinney, said she could not comment.Regents Chairman Jerry Rutledge and Vice Chairwoman Gail Schwartz did not immediately return telephone messages.CU’s rules governing tenure were thrust into the spotlight by the firestorm over Ward Churchill, who enraged many lawmakers by comparing some Sept. 11 victims to a notorious Nazi.Churchill, a tenured professor of ethnic studies, has said he was making the point that some of those killed in the World Trade Center were participating in an American economic system that has resulted in injustices that provoked the Sept. 11 attacks.The university has scheduled an announcement Monday on whether it will start the process of firing Churchill. University officials began a review of his academic work after his Sept. 11 comments made headlines.Gov. Bill Owens has urged that Churchill be fired, and both houses of the Legislature passed resolutions condemning the professor’s comments.Churchill and his supporters say he was protected by the Constitution and academic freedom. A full-page ad appeared Tuesday in the Boulder Daily Camera, signed by 400 professors and administrators from across the nation condemning the investigation of Churchill.He has said he would sue if he is fired.Attorneys for Churchill and the regents were negotiating a buyout of his contract, but the talks broke off March 11 after allegations surfaced that he had plagiarized and threatened a Canadian professor. Churchill denied the claims.’The Gonzo Trust’ posthumously set up ASPEN – In a nod to the unique form of journalism he founded, Hunter S. Thompson’s will requires that all his property flow into “The Gonzo Trust” to be managed by three people he has known for years.The will, dated June 27, 2003, was filed in state District Court in Pitkin County on Feb. 23, three days after the 67-year-old writer took his own life at his home in Woody Creek, a community near Aspen. The will was made public Monday.Trustees are Denver attorney Hal Haddon, Boston attorney George Tobia and historian Douglas Brinkley of New Orleans.Haddon did not immediately return a call for comment. Tobia said the trustees would inventory the estate during the next several months. Brinkley said he was appointed the “literary executor” to manage Thompson’s writings and book contracts and find a home for his archives.Opponents line up against ‘Super Slab’ toll roadDENVER – Hundreds of people protested outside the state Capitol Tuesday and dozens more lined up inside to argue against a bill that would make it easier to build a 210-mile-long private toll road on the plains east of Interstate 25.Opponents say the project, nicknamed “Super Slab,” would disrupt their rural lifestyle and allow private investors to use eminent domain to take away their land. The man behind the proposal, Ray Wells, says the highway would ease congestion, and allow trains to avoid busy intersections along the Front Range.Estes Park town trustee faces recall in Pledge controversyESTES PARK – As town trustee David Habecker awaited the results of an election to recall him Tuesday, he expressed confidence that voters wouldn’t toss him out for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance during board meetings.”I think the American in everyone is going to come forward and show that we are a tolerant nation,” said Habecker, a 12-year member of the governing board of the resort town that is a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. “I will be disappointed if it goes the other way, but I can live with that, too.”The 54-year-old businessman has said the phrase “under God” in the pledge runs contrary to his religious beliefs.
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