Colorado to fire controversial professor

June 27, 2006 at 9:42 AM

BOULDER, Colo., June 27 (UPI) -- The University of Colorado at Boulder, citing plagiarism and fabrication charges, has begun proceedings to fire a tenured controversial professor.

Interim chancellor Phil DiStefano sent a letter of his intention to Professor Ward Churchill, meaning he is relieved of his duties but still on payroll until any appeals can be conducted.

The move came two weeks after a majority of faculty on the university's Standing Committee on Research Misconduct, after a 15-month investigation, recommended that Churchill be fired for plagiarism, falsification and fabrication, the Denver Post reported.

Churchill made national headlines with an essay in which he compared victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to a Nazi who deserved to be attacked.

DiStefano said in a statement Monday that CU was not punishing Churchill for his essay, but rather how it was written academically.

"Indeed, one of our most cherished principles is academic freedom -- the right to pursue and disseminate knowledge without threat of sanction," he said. But, he said, "with freedom comes responsibility."

Churchill has 10 days to appeal his notice of termination.

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