Ward Churchill was in Denver District Court yesterday, fighting to be restored as a University of Colorado professor, the next step in a protracted legal battle. In his last court appearance, jurors found that Churchill was wrongly fired in retaliation for a controversial essay about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“Political interests–whether internal or external to the university–do not have the prerogative to remove professors or to silence them because of disagreements for their beliefs,” Churchill testified (via The Denver Post).
CU has long maintained that Churchill was fired for academic misconduct but clearly lost ground on that argument yesterday as Churchill’s attorney David Lane grilled Todd Gleeson, the dean of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, asking him to “point to the party that has ignored and trampled on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” (via Boulder’s Daily Camera).
The dean stammered and then told the court “the university was found to have violated Churchill’s rights,” a reference to the jury trial earlier this year that awarded Churchill just $1.
Judge Larry J. Naves will decide what to do–perhaps as early as next week–including the options of giving Churchill back his job, a monetary award, or doing nothing. See a photo gallery of the day at the Daily Camera.