More than 1,000 people attended Professor Ward Churchill’s speech at the University of Colorado last night. They gave him a standing ovation.

A University of Colorado professor who ignited a firestorm by likening the World Trade Center victims to Nazis received a standing ovation Tuesday from a crowd of more than a thousand who packed a ballroom to hear him speak.

“….”I do not work for the taxpayers of the state of Colorado. I do not work for (Gov.) Bill Owens. I work for you,” he said to thunderous applause.

Churchill defended his views but admitted he should have explained himself better.

“If someone were to ask me, ‘Do you feel sorrow for the victims of 9-11,’ of course I do,” he said. “Let’s begin with the children. Yes, they were innocent. And I mourn them. But they were not more innocent than those half-million Iraqi children.”

….Churchill, an American Indian Movement activist, said he shares some guilt because he participates in the system he accuses of wrongdoing: “I could do more. I’m complicit. I’m not innocent.”

He told the CU Regents to get out of his hair.

“The regents should do their job and let me do mine.”

CU rescinded the cancellation of Churchill’s speech after his supporters filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday.

The university allowed Churchill to speak, after earlier canceling the speech over security concerns. The announcement from CU came as a federal judge was prepared to rule on a motion for a court order to allow Churchill to speak at the university. Churchill, the students who organized the speech, and others were in federal court in Denver earlier, asking for the temporary restraining order and injunction to allow the speech to continue as originally scheduled.

David Lane, Churchill’s lawyer, said the cancellation was bogus:

Churchill attorney David Lane said CU was obligated to provide security for Churchill — and that the real reason officials canceled the lecture was because they’re embarrassed by him, and don’t want to deal with the controversy.

In an interview before his speech, Churchill answered a question about why he should be heard:

“That’s the function of a professor. That’s the function of the institution. That seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle of whether people like what I said or not. I’m supposed to say what they don’t like to hear in order to force them to confront it.”