Panel says to fire CU’s Churchill |

Panel says to fire CU’s Churchill

DENVER – Ward Churchill, the professor who called some of the World Trade Center victims “little Eichmanns,” should be fired because of “repeated and deliberate” infractions of scholarship rules, a University of Colorado committee said Tuesday.The recommendation, which came on a 6-3 vote, now goes to university officials for a final decision.Churchill, a tenured professor of ethnic studies who has vowed to fight his dismissal with a lawsuit, “has committed serious, repeated, and deliberate research misconduct,” the school’s Standing Committee on Research Misconduct said in its final report.But in an apparent acknowledgment of political pressure on the university to fire Churchill, the report asked the school to reassure other faculty members that CU still values academic freedom.Churchill has repeatedly denied misconduct and he did so again Tuesday.”Baloney. That’s my one-word-response,” he said. “The basic situation here is that there was a call by high officials in the state, notably the governor but hardly restricted to the governor, for my termination clear back last February, whether or not it was legal. They were willing to take the heat and go to court if necessary to stand behind an illegitimate investigation.”The school’s investigation did not address his comments about the Sept. 11 victims, which came in an essay he wrote hours after the attacks. The essay was largely ignored until January 2005, when they came to light before a scheduled speech at a college in upstate New York.The essay brought immediate denunciations from Gov. Bill Owens, state lawmakers and relatives of Sept. 11 victims in New York. Since then, his case has been cited by conservatives as an example of how universities have overstocked their faculties with leftists. Others raised concerns that a crackdown on Churchill would set a bad precedent when it comes to academic freedom.University officials concluded Churchill could not be fired for the essay, but in March 2005 they launched an investigation into allegations of plagiarism and other research misconduct, many of which came to light after his essay drew widespread attention.Last month, an investigative subcommittee concluded that Churchill repeatedly fabricated his research, plagiarized others’ work and strayed from the “bedrock principles of scholarship.”On Tuesday, the full panel concurred with the earlier findings. Six members recommended Churchill be fired, two recommended a five-year suspension without pay and one recommended a two-year suspension without pay. A 10th member did not vote.CU spokesman Barrie Hartman said the report will be reviewed by two more university officials, who will make recommendations to interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano, the top academic and administrative officer for CU’s Boulder campus.DiStefano will decide what discipline, if any, Churchill faces. The university set no timeline for DiStefano’s decision. Churchill can appeal to a separate university committee.

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