ACLU and ACLU of Colorado Urge University of Colorado Not to Fire Professor

Affiliate: ACLU of Colorado
July 19, 2007 12:00 am

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> Read the ACLU letter to the University of Colorado Board of Regents

In an open letter to the University of Colorado Board of Regents released today, the ACLU and the ACLU of Colorado urged the Board to reject the recommendation of CU President Hank Brown to terminate Professor Ward Churchill. President Brown’s decision ran counter to the majority of the Appeals Panel of the Privilege and Tenure Committee, which concluded that dismissal was not warranted.

National ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero and Cathryn Hazouri, Executive Director of the ACLU of Colorado, noted the highly charged political nature of the public uproar over Professor Churchill’s essay about the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. They stated that the “poisoned atmosphere in which this investigation was launched… [has] irretrievably tainted the process. The investigation of Professor Churchill’s scholarship cannot be separated from the indefensible lynch-mob furor that generated the initial calls for his termination.”

“The cure for unpopular speech is public debate,” says Hazouri, “not silencing a voice you don’t want to hear. Professor Churchill’s critics didn’t call for an investigation; they called for him to be fired. When those critics include the Governor and politicians with influence over the University budget, it’s impossible to conduct an impartial investigation.”

The letter warns that firing Professor Churchill over the results of an investigation triggered by his unpopular views, which are clearly protected by the First Amendment, creates a dangerous precedent when it comes to repressing academic freedom and chilling public debate.

The letter is available online at

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