Byline: Valerie Richardson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
DENVER - A three-member University of Colorado panel yesterday referred for further investigation charges that Ward Churchill committed plagiarism and lied about having Indian heritage.
But the panel said his essay comparing September 11 victims to Nazis constituted protected speech and did not provide grounds to fire the tenured professor of ethnic studies.
Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano said the seven-week preliminary review found that Mr. Churchill committed no violation in describing victims of the terrorist attacks as "little Eichmanns."
"While there are limits to the protections afforded by the Constitution, our review has determined that those limits have not been exceeded in professor Churchill's case," Mr. DiStefano said at a press conference yesterday.
But Mr. Churchill still could be fired based on the outcome of a full probe by the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct, comprising nine faculty members.
Mr. DiStefano directed the committee to focus on two claims: that Mr. Churchill lied about his Indian heritage to gain credibility in his field, and that he plagiarized some of his research and writings.
"We have determined that these allegations of research misconduct warrant reference to the standing committee," he said.
Three professors at other universities have said that Mr. Churchill plagiarized their work or invented facts and historical incidents. …