Three months ago, a jury agreed that Ward Churchill was illegally fired from the University of Colorado but awarded him a piddly $1 in damages, leaving open the question of whether he could return to his old job as an ethnic studies professor. Last week, Churchill was back in court arguing that he should be allowed to return–or be awarded damages. But yesterday a judge ruled that CU doesn’t have to welcome him back.
In a 42-page decision, Denver District Judge Larry Naves agreed with the university that Churchill’s presence on the Boulder campus would suggest that the school tolerates academic misconduct, a reference to the CU investigation that found Churchill’s academic work unethical or inaccurate, according to The Denver Post.
Naves wrote: “This negative perception has great potential to hinder students graduating from the department of ethnic studies in their efforts to obtain placement in graduate programs.”
Churchill received no monetary award either, leading CU officials to claim victory. Indeed, 9News legal analyst Scott Robinson called the decision “a huge win for the University of Colorado because the jury [in the first case] found against the university and the judge throwing the verdict out now can only be considered a major…upset.”
But Churchill hasn’t given up. His attorney, David Lane, plans an appeal that will probably argue that Naves’ decision amounts to a court allowing CU to violate Churchill’s First Amendment rights (via CBS4).