October 18, 2006

Ward Churchill Firing Hits Another Snag, Defense Wants $20,000 From University

The effort to oust Ward Churchill from the University of Colorado at Boulder has encountered another snag--a defense request of $20,000 in funds supposedly guaranteed to professors in a dismissal for cause case:
The University of Colorado's efforts to fire Ward Churchill are on hold because of a dispute over whether the university has to come up with $20,000 in state funds for the professor's defense.

Churchill's attorney, David Lane, said a lawsuit to get the money could be filed by next week.

. . .

Weldon Lodwick, CU professor of math and chairman of the faculty's Privilege and Tenure Committee, said he named a five-member panel on Aug. 10 to hear Churchill's appeal.

The process is supposed to take about 90 days. But Lodwick agreed to put the proceedings on hold until Nov. 6 so Churchill and Lane could resolve their disagreement with the university over the defense funds.

Lane says CU must provide up to $20,000 for Churchill's defense because a Faculty Senate policy published on a CU Web site stated that the money would be available to any professor going through a dismissal for cause hearing.

CU officials have said the faculty asked the Board of Regents in December 2002 to sign off on that policy, but that the regents never did.

The money has not been made available to anyone else, and won't be approved for Churchill, they said.

"That's fine," Lane responded, "but they can't seek to fire Ward Churchill if they're not going to follow their own procedures."
At this point, the filing of this lawsuit by David Lane appears to be nothing more than a stalling tactic pointing to an obscure and unratified (by the CU regents) faculty policy. This is not a question of funds, as the money would not break the University, and the lack of it would not hinder Churchill's appeal. By derailing the firing procedure, Lane and Churchill are banking on public exhaustion and forgetfulness, as the fervor for Churchill's removal wanes after more than two years.



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