Tag: Ward Churchill
Fired C.U. professor Ward Churchill is appealing the trial court's decision (available here)not to order his reinstatement after a jury ruled in his favor that he was terminated in retaliation for unpopular remarks about 9/11. The judge vacated the jury verdict, finding university officials had absolute immunity because they were acting as quasi-judicial officers in firing him. The jury had awarded Churchill $1.00 in damages,
The ACLU, American Association of University Professors and National Coalition Against Censorship today filed an amicus brief on behalf of Churchill. The brief argues the trial court was wrong to grant CU Regents absolute immunity, and given that there was a proven First Amendment violation, the presumed equitable remedy is reinstatement.
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Naves ruled the Board of Regents had acted in a quasi-judicial role and had absolute immunity. I'm no expert in civil procedure, but wouldn't you expect him to rule on that before the trial, like at the summary judgment phase, to spare everyone (including us taxpayers) the expense of a trial?
As a result of the jury's verdict, Naves had the option of reinstating Churchill's job or ordering "forward pay" for him. The verdict should also have resulted in an award of legal fees for Churchill's lawyer. (The legal fees were about $1 million.) In addition to vacating the verdict, Judge Naves refused to order Churchill reinstated and refused to give him any "forward pay." And I guess because the verdict was vacated, no legal fees were awarded. So a jury finds Churchill was improperly terminated for his political views and he gets nothing. Nice going. (/sarcasm.)[More...]
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The Denver Post reports on why jurors only awarded Ward Churchill $1.00 in damages for his wrongful termination by the University of Colorado: One juror insisted on it, and the other five, fearful of a hung jury, went along. The others thought he should get his legal fees in addition to $110,000, a year's salary. According to one of the jurors who would have awarded Churchill money,
"She [the lone juror] was like, she couldn't even stand to give him a dollar. We saw where she was coming from. She felt that he ruined his own reputation and that when you put something out there, even though it is protected speech, there are consequences."
With the lone holdout refusing to come around and the possibility of a hung jury looming, the others eventually agreed to the notion of a symbolic award of $1.00.
Churchill still stands to make some money if the Judge doesn't give him his job back: [More...]
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Jury finds Ward Churchill was only fired for his 9/11 essay. Damages: $1.00. CU will have to pay Churchill's attorney's fees. Still to be determined at separate hearing (not by the jury): Whether Churchill gets his job back or whether he gets lump-sum settlement instead.
Churchill attorney David Lane didn't ask the jury for money, but "to do justice." He says this is a vindication for the First Amendment and academic freedom and was never about money. But, as I said earlier, he will get attorney fees.
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Churchill was hired by the university in 1978 and in 1991 became a full-time professor with tenure in the ethnic-studies department. He eventually became chairman. Churchill, who has published several books and articles, has received writing and university awards for his teaching.Then someone came across an essay he had written mentioning 9/11. "He says the essay was taken out of context." [More...]
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Former C.U. Professor Ward Churchill and current University of Illinois (Chicago) Professor William Ayers teamed up Thursday night in Boulder to speak to students at the University of Colorado. The topic: Academic Freedom. The title of their presentation: "Forbidden Education and the Rise of NeoMcCarthyism."
Ayers talked about Obama's presidency (nothing unusual from what the article reports) and the danger if teachers are not allowed to challenge their students due to fear about raising certain topics or asking certain questions.
"We should always be developing a curriculum of questioning," Ayers told the students. "As a teacher, your responsibility is to challenge dogma and orthodoxy, not to just accept it."
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