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Jury rules university wrongly fired professor

Associated Press / April 3, 2009
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DENVER - A jury ruled yesterday that the University of Colorado wrongly fired the professor who compared some Sept. 11 victims to Nazis, a verdict that gives the professor $1 and a chance to get his job back.

Bill Owens, then the governor, was among the officials who called on the university to fire Ward Churchill after his essay touched off a national firestorm, but the tenured professor of ethnic studies was ultimately terminated on charges of research misconduct.

Churchill said claims including plagiarism were just a cover, and that he never would have been fired had it not been for the essay in which he called World Trade Center victims "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi leader who orchestrated the Holocaust. Jurors agreed.

When the verdict was read, Churchill hugged his lawyer, David Lane, and his wife, Natsu Saito.

The jury awarded Churchill $1 in damages, but he has maintained money was never his goal.