Churchill's Lawyer Urges "Revolution" at CU · 10 August 2006

By Sara Burnett--Rocky Mountain News--08/10/06


Ward Churchill's lawyer said Tuesday he wants to start a "revolution" among University of Colorado professors because CU is refusing to contribute money toward the defense of Churchill's job.

"I want them to know nobody is safe," attorney David Lane said. "If CU can (mess) with Ward Churchill, they can (mess) with anyone."

Faculty Senate bylaws published on CU's Web site state that if a faculty member appeals a dismissal to the CU Privilege and Tenure Committee and requests a formal hearing, "the university shall contribute up to $20,000 of the reasonable fee of an attorney for services directly related to the representation of the faculty member."

The funds are "to facilitate the proceeding and to ensure that the faculty member's case is effectively presented," the bylaws state.

But CU spokesman Ken McConnellogue said the Board of Regents never adopted those bylaws, which the Faculty Senate sent to the regents for approval in December 2002. That's because it was unclear whether contributing to a faculty member's defense would be a proper use of taxpayer funds, McConnellogue said.

"(Lane) is predicating things on the fact that this is policy, and it's not," he added.

McConnellogue said he did not know whether most faculty are working under the assumption they would receive money in the same situation, but that the university has not provided funds for any cases heard by the Privilege and Tenure Committee in recent years.

As it stands now, CU won't be giving any money to Churchill either, McConnellogue said.

Lane - who said he would donate most of the funds to the American Civil Liberties Union, lest CU think he is greedy - said that was news to him, as well as to faculty.

"I guess the university needs to clarify which rules on its Web site are not real rules, and which of its secret rules we are going to be operating under," Lane said.

In a letter to the Privilege and Tenure Committee, he also said he might take CU to court to get the funds.

CU Interim Chancellor Phil Di-Stefano recommended Churchill be fired after an investigative committee concluded the ethnic studies professor had committed several instances of research misconduct.

Churchill has maintained, however, that he was unfairly targeted because of an essay he wrote about the Sept. 11 attacks, in which he referred to some victims in the World Trade Center as "little Eichmanns," after Nazi Adolf Eichmann.