Colorado Moves to Fire Churchill

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It’s possible that Ward Churchill may never again teach a class at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The interim chancellor at Boulder on Monday issued a “notice of intent to dismiss” the controversial professor, citing findings of serious and repeated research misconduct. Churchill still has appeal rights — and has 10 days to take his case to a faculty review committee. After any appeal, a final decision rests with the president of the University of Colorado System and the Board of Regents. And Churchill has vowed to sue the university to block any firing.

But Monday’s action is significant — even with all the additional maneuvering expected. The decision by Phil DiStefano, the interim chancellor, marked the first time that the administration at Colorado has formally pushed to fire Churchill. And while Churchill will remain on Colorado’s payroll pending any final action against him, DiStefano said at a news conference that Churchill had been relieved of all teaching and research duties.

When the case moves to the top governance levels of the university, Churchill is expected to be fired, and Colorado’s board faces intense pressure to dismiss him. Gov. Bill Owens told Colorado reporters Monday that he hoped the latest developments would speed the day when “we can soon say good riddance to Ward Churchill once and for all.”

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