Panel: Professor's essay protected speech

March 24, 2005 at 7:36 PM

BOULDER, Colo., March 24 (UPI) -- A University of Colorado review panel said Thursday that the First Amendment protected a controversial essay by Prof. Ward Churchill.

Chancellor Phil DiStefano said the three-person panel referred other allegations of plagiarism, misuse of others' work, and fabrication to a standing faculty committee for further review.

Churchill, a tenured professor of ethnic studies, came to national attention earlier this year when an essay surfaced in which he compared some victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center to Nazi underlings.

Among the allegations referred to the committee was one that Churchill misrepresented that he is an American Indian.

In an interview with KUSA-TV in Denver, Churchill said the findings show there was no basis for an investigation in the first place. He said allegations that have been made since are politically motivated and will be "easily disproven."

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