Former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill will got a new chance to fight for his old job at CU Boulder on Tuesday when the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to hear his appeal in his free-speech case against the University that fired him four years ago.
According to the Denver Post, Churchill will argue that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was fired in 2007 when he was fired, in Churchill’s view, as a result of his controversial essays about 9/11 in which he called some victims of the September 11 World Trade Center attacks “technocrats of empire” and compared them to Nazi Adolf Eichmann.
Churchill later released a statement that was posted on the University of Colorado Boulder’s website under the Department of Ethnic Studies where he once served as Chair, stating that his remarks had been grossly misunderstood.
However, after Churchill’s controversial statements were made, an investigation was launched regarding Churchill’s background and academic work. Several academics came forward to state that Churchill had plagiarized some of his published work and CU Boulder ultimately fired him for what they called academic misconduct, due to the plagiarism claims from other academics.
The Daily Camera reports that one key argument that will be heard by the state’s Supreme Court is the quasi-judicial immunity doctrine that Churchill and his attorney, David Lane, argue is a threat to free speech and academic tenure at universities.
In a statement made in the Daily Camera, Lane says about Churchill’s situation with the university:
When the regents violate the Constitution, should they be on the hook for it? The lower courts have said "No," and the Colorado Supreme Court is going to chime in and we'll see what they say.