Ward Churchill to argue before Colorado Supreme Court to force the University of Colorado to give him back a job

World-famous plagiarist and academic fraud (and faux Native-American) Ward Churchill is set to appear before the Colorado Supreme Court on June 7th in oral arguments designed to force the University of Colorado – which fired him for academic fraud – to re-hire him as a tenured professor.  According to his lawyer, “Churchill is ready and willing to return to his $96,400-per-year job.”

Although Churchill (and his attorneys) attempt to portray the case as a “free-speech” issue, as the Denver Post reported earlier this week,

CU’s regents voted 8-1 to fire Churchill nearly five years ago after the university said he had committed repeated academic fraud in his scholarship.

As also noted in the Denver Post’s coverage:

The Colorado Supreme Court announced in 2011 that it would hear Churchill’s appeal, including a key argument about the quasi-judicial immunity doctrine that Churchill and his attorneys have challenged, arguing it threatens academic freedom and tenure at universities.

In addition to reviewing whether granting CU’s Board of Regents quasi-judicial immunity comports with federal law, the Supreme Court will consider whether CU violated Churchill’s First Amendment rights and whether Churchill can be given back his job as an ethnic studies professor — which attorney David Lane said Churchill still wants.

However, Churchill’s attempts to portray the case as an issue of “academic freedom and tenure at universities” are undermined by the backing of many academic groups (including the American Council on Education, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the Association of American Universities) for the University of Colorado’s decision (and right) to fire Ward Churchill.

In the academic groups’ amicus brief filed with the Colorado Supreme Court supporting the University of Colorado’s position, the groups state that

the principles of academic freedom should result in support for the university’s position. “Because universities are the entities best suited to make decisions about their faculties, they are entitled to autonomy in adjudicating claims regarding academic integrity.”

The academic associations further argue that overturning the appeals court decision

would not only infringe on the institutional autonomy that is the cornerstone of academic freedom, but would chill universities’ incentive to provide robust internal processes for faculty misconduct proceedings.

Our View:
Free speech and academic freedom are important rights worthy of being defended, but Ward Churchill’s transparent attempt to extend his played-out “fifteen minutes of fame” and violate the rights of others (including forcing the University of Colorado – and by extension, Colorado taxpayers – to provide him a sheltered, comfortable livelihood) is, contrariwise, contemptible.  The Colorado Supreme Court should not play the bully by forcing CU to re-hire this confirmed fraud and cheat.

Clear The Bench Colorado will, with your support, continue to promote transparency and accountability in the Colorado judiciary, informing the public to increase awareness of the substantial public policy implications of an unrestrained activism and political agendas in the courts.  We will continue to work to educate voters and provide information of relevance related to the judicial branch, and to provide useful and substantive evaluations of judicial performance.

However, we can’t do it alone –  we need your continued support; via your comments (Sound Off!) and, yes, your contributions.  Freedom isn’t free –nor is it always easy to be a Citizen, not a subject.

Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.

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