On January 27, 2014 an honoring event for the late Russell Means will be held in New York City. It is a fundraiser for T.R.E.A.T.Y. Educational Endowment, and will feature Ward Churchill reading from Russell Mean's most famous speech, "For the World to Live, 'Europe' Must Die." For tickets and more information, please visit http://russellmeanslegacy.com/?page_id=2.
Honoring for Russell Means-NYC Jan.27
Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
On Sept. 30, 2013, a Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was filed on behalf of Ward Churchill by the Human Rights Research Fund and his Denver attorneys, David Lane and Robert Bruce.
The Petition addresses the attacks on Ward Churchill as part of a larger movement to suppress indigenous perspectives on U.S. history, especially the U.S.' history of genocidal policies and practices, and to undermine ethnic studies programs and courses in U.S. education.
The Inter-American Commission is part of the Organization of American States (OAS) and has investigated and issued opinions on a wide range of human rights violations in the Americas, including the U.S.
Colorado Regents Free to Violate the Constitution
The Supreme Court denied cert in Ward Churchill's case against the University of Colorado in a decision announced April 1, 2013. This lets stand the Colorado courts' ruling that the Regents have absolute immunity from suit, even when they deliberately violate the First Amendment — or any other provision of the U.S. Constitution.
So much for academic freedom. For a thorough report from the Colorado Conference of AAUP chapters on the bogus nature of the claims made by the University against Ward Churchill, click here (Churchill section is at pp.116-251).
The University of Colorado did not bother to respond to Ward Churchill's petition to the U.S. Supreme Court (see below). The Supreme Court, however, has instructed University counsel Patrick O'Rourke to respond by Feb. 28.
Churchill v. University of Colorado: U.S. Supreme Court petition filed
The Colorado courts have set a dangerous precedent by ruling that tenured professors investigated or fired in retaliation for exercising their First Amendment rights have no effective legal remedy. Ward Churchill’s attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme court to decide these issues:
I. Does a bad faith investigation of all of a tenured professor’s writings and public speeches, undertaken by state university officials in retaliation for the exercise of constitutionally protected speech and with the stated purpose of finding grounds for termination, violate a clearly established right and create a free-standing First Amendment cause of action?
II. Should absolute, quasi-judicial immunity completely shield a state university and its board of regents’ termination decisions, even when a jury has determined that these officials fired a tenured professor… Read More
November 10, 1939 – October 22, 2012
We join those honoring Russell Means, a man who insisted on living as a free human being and who consistently worked—and fought—for the people. As observed by Ward Churchill, “He gave pride to something that was systematically crushed. To be Indian was not to be human. He turned that around in a real fundamental way.”
Russell Means struggled for all peoples to be free, from Pine Ridge to Palestine, from the Miskito of Nicaragua to the Dalits of India. And, he emphasized, “When I fight for my people’s rights, when I stand up for our treaties, when I protest government lies and illegal seizures and unlawful acts, I defend all Americans, even the bigoted and misguided.”
Colorado Supreme Court: CU Regents Are Above the Law
Sept. 10, 2012
The Colorado Supreme Court has affirmed the lower courts’ decisions in Ward Churchill’s lawsuit against the University of Colorado. Click here to read its opinion.
Churchill’s attorney David Lane plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. According to Lane, “The court never said his First Amendment rights were not violated. They simply said the Regents are above the law, which is a dangerous precedent.”
Six years ago Ward Churchill was a professor of American Studies, chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at UC-Boulder, and the most-frequently cited Ethnic Studies scholar in the country. He was also the recipient of a number of awards for service to and scholarship… Read More
Oral Arguments, June 7, 2012:
Oral arguments to the Colorado Supreme Court took place before a packed courtroom on June 7, 2012. At some point in the next few months, the Court will rule on whether the Regent of the University of Colorado have absolute immunity from suit, even when they deliberately violate the Constitution; whether state employees have a right to legally contest retaliatory investigations; and whether professors fired in violation of the Constitution have a right to a remedy.
In the meantime, Ward Churchill continues to speak and write. Check out a new book edited by Pierre W. Orelus, "A Decolonizing Encounter: Ward Churchill and Antonia Darder in Dialogue."
As described by Peter McLaren, Professor of Critical Studies in Education, "Darder and Churchill pull no punches. Their brilliant analyses dismantle today's boneyard of political inertia among the liberal left to bring a new and powerful political agency to… Read More
June 7: Colo. Supreme Court Oral Argument
Thursday, June 7, 2012 1:00 pm
New location: Old Supreme Court Chambers
State Capitol Building, 200 E. Colfax (between Grant & Lincoln)
Churchill v. University of Colorado:
Are the Regents of the University of Colorado absolutely immune from suit when they fire tenured professors in violation of the Constitution? Do public employees have any legal remedy for investigations launched in retaliation for speech protected by the First Amendment?
Colorado AAUP Issues Report: CU violates academic freedom, should be “last resort” for teachers seeking jobs
After an intense investigation, the Colorado Conference of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued a 136-page report concluding that the University of Colorado fired Ward Churchill in violation of “the most basic principles of academic freedom it purports to uphold.”
According to the Report, CU’s internal investigative committee “suppressed and misrepresented evidence that worked in Churchill’s favor, and contrived evidence against him,” and repeatedly “violated many of its own rules.”
Finding that Ward Churchill and adjunct professor Phil Mitchell were both ousted because of their political views, the Colorado Conference of the AAUP recommends “that any faculty seeking employment accept a position at the University of Colorado only as a last resort.”
Churchill v. CU:Appeal Filed
On Aug. 13, 2009, Ward Churchill's attorneys filed a Notice of Appeal in the Colorado Court of Appeals. It contests Judge Naves' vacating of the jury verdict, his refusal to grant reinstatement, and many of his rulings during the trial.
Churchill Attorneys: Judge Naves’ Opinion Vacating Jury Verdict Misrepresented Law and Facts
On April 2, 2009, after a 4-week trial, a Denver jury unanimously found that the University of Colorado had violated the First Amendment by firing Professor Ward Churchill not because of alleged research misconduct, but because of his constitutionally protected speech.
After all this, Denver District Court Judge Larry Naves vacated the jury verdict, holding that the University and the Regents had “quasi-judicial” immunity and should never have been sued in the first place. Just in case that didn’t stick, he also went on to opine that Ward Churchill should neither… Read More
Churchill v. CU: On to the Colorado Supreme Court?
Jan. 10, 2011. Ward Churchill's attorneys filed a petition today asking the Colorado Supreme Court to review the decision of the court of appeals because:
(1) the jury should have been allowed to decide whether CU's 2005 investigation into "every word" Ward Churchill published or spoke publicly violated his First Amendment rights;
(2) CU & its Regents should not have absolute immunity from suit when they fire a tenured professor in violation of the U.S. Constitution; and
(3) Ward Churchill should have been reinstated after the jury decided unanimously that he was fired for speech protected by First Amendment, not for alleged research misconduct.
Court of Appeals: CU, Regents Cannot Be Sued for Violating U.S. Constitution
Nov. 23, 2010. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the University of Colorado and its Regents have absolute immunity when firing a tenured professor in violation of the First Amendment.
Attorney David Lane responds:
It is truly unfortunate that our most cherished freedoms are left in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats in black robes to protect. We are less free today because the Colorado Court of Appeals has given the go-ahead to the Regents to fire any professors they wish after running them through a sham “due process” procedure. A jury of Professor Churchill’s peers found that the Regents violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Colorado Court of Appeals is letting them get away with it. Their made-up justifications ring hollow in light of the freedom lost by their actions.
Ward Churchill summarizes the ruling:
The Center… Read More
Civil Rights and First Amendment Groups Urge Colorado Court of Appeals to Reinstate Jury Verdict:
Briefs filed in Churchill v. CU appeal
“The University was not entitled to quasi-judicial immunity because the Regents were not acting in a judicial capacity. . . . They had pre-judged the case based on their own political viewpoints and political pressure. . . . . Reinstatement is appropriate in this case because it is the preferred remedy for a First Amendment violation.”
Read Ward Churchill’s Opening Brief
“Academic freedom, a central component of the First Amendment and essential to a thriving democracy, is imperiled when state university officials succumb to political pressure to fire a tenured professor over constitutionally protected statements. Affording the shield of absolute immunity to university officials and vacating a jury finding of wrongful discharge . . . . threatens the fundamental rights of all faculty members. Fidelity to the rule of law requires a remedy for those deprived… Read More
Colorado Supreme Court to decide Churchill v. University of Colorado
On May 31, 2011, the Supreme Court of Colorado granted Ward Churchill's petition for certiorari, announcing that it will review all three of the issues raised by Prof. Churchill:
1. Whether a public university’s investigation of a tenured professor’s work product can constitute an adverse employment action for the purposes of a First Amendment claim brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 when, as a result of the investigation, the tenured professor also experiences adverse employment action in the form of termination.
2. Whether the granting of quasi-judicial immunity to the Regents of the University of Colorado for their termination of a tenured professor comports with federal law for actions brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
3. Whether the denial of equitable remedies for termination in violation of the First Amendment undermines the purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Constitutional Questions for the Colorado Supreme Court
If a state employee is subjected to a retaliatory investigation because she made politically controversial statements, or complained of race or gender discrimination, does she have a legal remedy? How about university employees fired because of their race, gender, or First Amendment-protected speech?
In 1871 Congress passed a law (42 U.S.C. §1983) to deter state officials from violating the federal constitution, and to provide remedies when they do. Are Colorado officials exempt?
These are the issues for the Colorado Supreme Court in Churchill v. University of Colorado.
Click here to read Ward Churchill’s Opening Brief. Amicus briefs have been filed by (1) the ACLU and (2) the National Lawyers Guild, Center for Constitutional Rights, Colorado Conference of the AAUP, Society of American Law Teachers, National Conference of Black Lawyers, Latina/o Critical… Read More