May 10, 2006

Churchill Lawyer Demands CU Drop 'Witch Hunt'

Churchill attorney David Lane miffed that due process takes too long:
Embattled professor Ward Churchill's attorney demanded the University of Colorado drop its "latest round of witch hunting" or else face a federal lawsuit.

Attorney David Lane sent the seven-page letter, which was obtained by The Denver Post, to the school's attorney on Tuesday. He said the investigation, along with comments made by officials, was damaging Churchill's reputation and preventing him from fulfilling publishing contracts and speaking engagements.

School officials told The Post they had not seen the letter.

"Let the process decide what happens," university spokesman Barrie Hartman said, declining further comment.
More here, as Churchill is described as not having "the time or desire to respond to the most recent allegations". Awwww, damned scholarly requirements!

Based on recent history at CU, however, it seems that the professors and staff "take care of their own" and haven't issued sanctions in recent years:
University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill could become the first person to face sanctions for research misconduct since CU formed a committee to investigate such cases 17 years ago.

But that remains to be seen, even after the five-member faculty committee selected to investigate Churchill turned its findings over to CU's Standing Committee on Research Misconduct.

The standing committee, made up of 10 CU faculty members, one staff member and a graduate student, will spend the next week reviewing the findings. The report will not be made public until the committee votes to accept it. That is tentatively scheduled for May 16.

CU's standing committee has reviewed six cases, including Churchill's, since 1989, according to data obtained through an open- records request. Two others warranted a full investigation, the standing committee ruled.

But in no case has the committee ever found that misconduct occurred, and the group has never recommended action against a faculty member.

The five-member faculty investigation into Churchill took four months to review charges, which include plagiarism, fabrication of material and misuse of sources.

According to university policy, the committee should have settled on one of three findings: misconduct; no misconduct but "serious research error"; or no misconduct and no research error.

After the standing committee makes its determination, Churchill and his attorney will have time to respond to the findings. The standing committee will then issue a recommendation on what action - if any - should be taken.
How much would you bet that the recommendation will be no action, and that the finding of no misconduct or research error will lead to an even larger lawsuit?


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