[Marxism] Petition for Ward Churchill's reinstatement

Michele Cheung mjcheung at maine.rr.com
Tue Apr 21 17:34:32 MDT 2009

Dear Friends,

Ward & I are very grateful that the jury in Ward's case against the 
University of Colorado saw through the pretext of the University's 
claims and found that Ward was fired not for research misconduct but for 
his constitutionally protected speech.

As you may know, we must now submit a motion to the judge requesting 
reinstatement, the only remedy that we believe will deter not only CU 
but other such institutions from engaging in retaliatory actions against 
professors who challenge the status quo.

I've pasted in below a letter from professors and attorneys to the trial 
judge supporting Ward's motion for reinstatement.

If you'd like your name added, please e-mail me your name and 
institutional affiliation, if any, for identification purposes only. 
We can add names until Monday April 28.

Contact me for some documents which may be of interest -

*Juror Bethany Newill's interview following the verdict
* Stanley Fish's NYT blog piece debunking the research misconduct charges
* CU professor Tom Mayer's call for reinstatement  (great piece, thanks, 

Please feel free to circulate.  If you have any questions, feel free to 
e-mail me.  Many thanks.

In struggle and solidarity,
natsu.saito at gmail.com


April 2009

Chief Judge Larry Naves

Denver District Court

1437 Bannock St.

Denver, CO 80202

cc:  David Lane, Esq


             Re:       Churchill v. University of Colorado

Dear Judge Naves:

We, the undersigned professors and attorneys, urge you to grant 
Professor Ward Churchill’s motion for reinstatement at the University of 

On April 2, 2009 the jury in this case found that Ward Churchill’s 
exercise of freedom of speech was a substantial or motivating factor in 
his dismissal. Furthermore, the jury found that had it not been for 
Professor Churchill’s controversial essay, which is clearly protected by 
the First Amendment, the Regents of the University of Colorado (CU) 
would not have fired him for research misconduct.

Under these circumstances, allowing the University to preclude Professor 
Churchill’s return to campus would send the message that the First 
Amendment and academic tenure can be abridged at will by public employers.

Reinstatement is the usual, or “preferred,” remedy in cases such as 
this.  As federal courts of appeal have noted,

When a person loses his job, it is at best disingenuous to say that 
money damages can suffice to make that person whole.... We also note 
that reinstatement is an effective deterrent in preventing employer 
retaliation against employees who exercise their constitutional rights. 
If an employer's best efforts to remove an employee for unconstitutional 
reasons are presumptively unlikely to succeed, there is, of course, less 
incentive to use employment decisions to chill the exercise of 
constitutional rights.

Squires v. Bonser, 54 F.3d 168, 173 (3rd Cir. 1995), quoting Allen v. 
Autauga County Board of Education, 685 F.2d 1302, 1306 (11th Cir. 1982), 
and also citing Banks v. Burkich, 788 F.2d 1161, 1164 (6th Cir.1986) 
(“The prospect of money damages will not be sufficient for many 
employees to overcome the otherwise chilling effect that accompanies the 
threat of termination.”).

In this case, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)’s 
national council has passed a resolution which states, “We believe the 
disputes over Ward Churchill’s publications should have been allowed to 
work themselves out in traditional scholarly venues, not referred to 
disciplinary hearings. We believe Churchill should be reinstated to his 
faculty position at the University of Colorado.”

In opposing reinstatement, University of Colorado officials continue to 
rely upon the conclusions of their investigative committee, whose report 
has been discredited not only by the evidence introduced at trial and 
the jury’s findings, but by numerous charges of research misconduct 
against its authors.

The University also claims that returning Professor Churchill to his job 
will cause excessive disruption on campus, a prediction that seems more 
smokescreen than  actuality.  Professors work relatively independently 
and students are free to take or refuse to take particular classes.  In 
his nearly 30 years of service to CU, Professor Churchill received 
numerous awards for both teaching and service to the University. He 
continued to teach during the height of the controversy in 2005 and, at 
the students’ request, taught a successful voluntary class in 2007-2008.

Speculative allegations of disruption should not be a means by which the 
University can continue to retaliate against Professor Churchill for his 
protected speech.  Invoking similar claims in February 2005, CU 
administrators attempted to cancel a speech by Professor Churchill, yet 
the event took place without incident.  To the extent that any 
disruptions are anticipated, it is the University’s responsibility to 
minimize those disruptions and ensure a smooth transition back to the 
workplace for Professor Churchill.

In sum, we believe that the chilling effect of the actions of the 
University of Colorado can only be effectively deterred by granting 
reinstatement to Professor Churchill, and hope that you will reinforce 
the importance of the First Amendment in academia by so ordering.


[institutional affiliations listed only for identification purposes]

Matthew Abraham

DePaul University

Derrick Bell

New York University School of Law

Eric Cheyfitz

Cornell University

Sumi Cho

DePaul University College of Law

Kathleen Cleaver

Yale University

Juan Cole

University of Michigan

James M. Craven/Omahkohkiaayo i’poyi

Clark College, Washington

Andrea Curcio

Georgia State University College of Law

Stuart Davis

Cornell University

Brett de Bary

Cornell University

Richard Delgado

Seattle University School of Law

Susan Deer Cloud

Goddard College, Vermont

Nancy Ehrenreich

University of Denver College of Law

Anne Emanuel

Georgia State University College of Law

Richard Falk

Princeton University (emeritus)

University of California – Santa Barbara

Anthony Paul Farley

Albany Law School

Irene Gendzier

Boston University

Heide Goettner-Abendroth

International Academy HAGIA, Germany

Alan Eladio Gómez

Arizona State University

Laura Suzanne Gordon

University of Maryland (UMCP)

Neil Gotanda

Western State University College of Law

Gil Gott

DePaul University

Jennifer Harbury

Attorney, Weslaco, Texas

Emily M.S. Houh

University of Cincinnati College of Law

Evelyn Hu-DeHart

Brown University

Myron Hulen

Colorado State University (emeritus)

Cecil J. Hunt, II

The John Marshall Law School, Chicago

Moana Jackson

Attorney, Wellington, New Zealand

Rashid Khalidi

Columbia University

Eiko Kosasa

Leeward Community College, Hawai‘i

Sylvia R. Lazos

University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Law

Andrew Leong

University of Massachusetts – Boston

Philip E. Lewis

Cornell University (emeritus)

Holly Maguigan

New York University School of Law

Tayyab Mahmud

Seattle University Law School

Harriet Malinowitz

Long Island University

Mahmood Mamdani

Columbia University

Barbara Alice Mann

University of Toledo

Barry Maxwell

Cornell University

Timothy Murray

Cornell University

Kenneth B. Nunn

University of Florida College of Law

Reeve Parker

Cornell University

Emma Pérez

University of Colorado - Boulder

Robert R. Perkinson

University of Hawai‘i

Peter Philips

University of Utah

Marcus Rediker

University of Pittsburgh

Reginald Leamon Robinson

Howard University School of Law

Victor C. Romero

Penn State University School of Law

David E. Stannard

University of Hawai‘i

Jean Stefancic

Seattle University School of Law

Tink Tinker

Iliff School of Theology

Haunani-Kay Trask

University of Hawai‘i

Mililani B. Trask

Attorney, Hilo, Hawai‘i

Sharon H. Venne

Attorney, Edmonton, Alberta

Immanuel Wallerstein

Yale University

Robert A. Williams, Jr.

University of Arizona College of Law

Michael Yellow Bird

University of Kansas

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