Controversial professor wins jury verdict

April 2, 2009 at 9:59 PM   |   Comments

DENVER, April 2 (UPI) -- Ward Churchill, the controversial professor fired from the University of Colorado, was wrongly terminated, a jury in Denver ruled Thursday.

While jurors, after a day and a half of deliberations, ruled in Churchill's favor, they awarded him only $1 in damages, The New York Times reported. Judge Larry Naves, who presided over the case, is to decide whether Churchill should get his job back.

Churchill claimed victory and said he expects to be back at the university.

"I didn't ask for money, I asked for justice," he said. "Reinstatement follows rather naturally, wouldn't you say?"

Churchill, a specialist in American Indian studies, has long been a lightning rod. He became notorious after the 2001 terrorist attacks when he referred to those killed in the World Trade Center in New York as "little Eichmanns" -- a reference to Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.

The university said he was fired for plagiarism and for slipshod academic work, including claiming that Capt. John Smith deliberately infected Massachusetts Indians with smallpox in the 17th century.

"There's the real university world, and there's Ward Churchill's world," Patrick O'Rourke, the university lawyer, said in his summation. "Ward Churchill's world is a place where there are no standards and no accountability."

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