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Ward Churchill's committee questioned

March 27, 2005 at 10:18 AM

BOULDER, Colo., March 27 (UPI) -- Questions have arisen whether professors assigned to judge University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill have a conflict of interest.

The protest has been raised by at least three University of Colorado professors who are among the committee's 12 members. The committee is charged with judging whether Churchill plagiarized or committed academic dishonesty.

Churchill's supporters are questioning the university's ability to discipline him following his statements likening victims of Sept. 11, 2001, to Nazis.

Joseph Rosse, director of the office of research integrity and a member of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct that will decide the Churchill case, said there was a distinction between supporting Churchill's freedom of speech and deciding whether he stole or misrepresented other people's work, the Denver Post reported Sunday.

However, state Rep. Ted Harvey, a Republican, said the professors' previous statements of support show a flaw in the process.

"The patients are in charge of the asylum," Harvey said. "The people who hired him with tenure and gave him his chairmanship will decide if he should be fired for a lack of performance."

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