Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ward Churchill verdict: Former CU professor vindicated

The jury in the Ward Churchill trial, in deliberations since Wednesday, has reached a verdict today in the civil suit against the University of Colorado for wrongful termination.

The jury in the 3 1/2-week trial was asked to decide three questions (which I'm paraphrasing):

1) Did CU Regents use protected speech (Ward's 9/11 essay) as a substantial or motivating factor in its decision to terminate Ward? The jury answered Yes.

2) Did the termination harm Ward? The jury answered Yes.

3) Have the defendants shown that Ward would have been dismissed for other reasons? The jury answered No. In some ways this was the most important question. By answering No, the jury said not only that Ward's First Amendment protected speech led to his firing, but that the "finding" of the CU committee that Ward engaged in academic misconduct was bogus, and there was no justification for firing him. As Ward said to the press shortly after the verdict, and as was obvious all along, this was a political motivated firing, and the jury in their verdict said as much.--Mark Cohen

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