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University of Colorado Fires Ward Churchill

Last night the University of Colorado Board of Regents voted to fire professor Ward Churchill on the grounds of “serious, repeated, and deliberate research misconduct.” This vote came more than two years after the university investigated Churchill for making controversial public statements, including a reference to the victims of the World Trade Center attacks as “little Eichmanns.” FIRE released an analysis of the situation in 2005, determining that Churchill’s statements are protected and that the university’s initial investigation was unconstitutional. FIRE further cautioned that while the university’s investigation of Churchill’s research misconduct must not be swayed by anger over the content of his statements, Churchill was not immune to such scrutiny. FIRE wrote that Churchill freely injected himself into the public square, and that if “information that … legitimately places his job in jeopardy” came to light, “then that is simply the hazard of voluntarily participating in the marketplace of ideas.”

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