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Ward Churchill Wins, Sort Of...

Let's say you hire a man for a job for which he's unqualified, in no small part because of his race (except that you get his race wrong -- he represented himself as an American Indian, but the Tribe he said he belongs to says he is a Caucasian). Then you reap what you sow, when he produces shoddy scholarship and disgraces his university by denigrating 9/11 victims as "little Eichmanns." Can you fire him for the shoddy scholarship? A Colorado jury said that motive was a pretext, and that he was fired for his disgraceful language, a violation of his tenure and First Amendment rights at a state university. Ward Churchill was awarded only $1 in damages, however, possibly an eloquent testimony to the jury's appreciation of him as a scholar. In so doing, the jury both vindicated tenure rights for state university professors and informed Churchill of what they thought of him.

A judge must now decide whether Churchill gets his job back (an equitable remedy not in the purview of the jury).

A sadder indictment of affirmative action in higher education is hard to imagine. Churchill stated, "CU has been exposed for what it is. It was found by a jury that I was wrongly fired." Yes, except if you were also wrongly hired -- therein lies, hopefully, a lesson for all universities.

Here's the Denver Post report on the case.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.