- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 1, 2005

BOULDER, Colo. — Calls for University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill’s resignation intensified yesterday as Hamilton College rescinded its speaking invitation, citing multiple death threats over the professor’s essay comparing the September 11 victims to Nazis.

Mr. Churchill had been invited to speak tomorrow at the New York college, but yesterday Hamilton President Joan Hinde Stewart said the arrival of several “credible” death threats had forced her to place safety concerns over free speech.

Meanwhile, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican, added his voice to those calling for Mr. Churchill to step down from the university faculty. On Monday, Mr. Churchill resigned as chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department, but his critics said the gesture fell short.

“No one wants to infringe on Mr. Churchill’s right to express himself,” Mr. Owens said yesterday. “But we are not compelled to accept his pro-terrorist views at state taxpayer subsidy nor under the banner of the University of Colorado. Mr. Churchill besmirches the university.”

The CU College Republicans yesterday staged a rally and gathered signatures on a petition asking university President Betsy Hoffman to fire Mr. Churchill. The Board of Regents has a special meeting set for tomorrow on his statements.

College Republicans President Isaiah Lechowit dismissed Mr. Churchill’s resignation as department head as a “cheap parlor trick,” noting that he was scheduled to rotate out of that position in June anyway.

Mr. Churchill became the focus of a nationwide furor last week over an essay that called the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks “little Eichmanns,” referring to Adolf Eichmann, who ran Nazi Germany’s program to exterminate European Jews.

The essay, “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” described the terrorist siege as a “natural and inevitable” reaction to U.S. foreign policy and praised the al Qaeda terrorists for their “gallant sacrifices.”

Written the day after the 2001 attacks, Mr. Churchill’s essay was widely criticized at Hamilton after the Colorado professor was invited to speak there.

Mr. Churchill on Monday blamed “widespread and grossly inaccurate media coverage” for the furor. He insisted that he had not defended the September 11 attacks but rather had pointed out that “if U.S. foreign policy results in massive death and destruction abroad, we cannot feign innocence when some of that destruction is returned.”

He also said that his “little Eichmanns” description was aimed at the “technocrats” working in the World Trade Center, not the “children, janitors, food service workers, firemen and random passers-by killed in the 9/11 attack.”

At yesterday’s College Republicans rally, about 100 Churchill supporters braved the cold to defend the professor’s right to free speech.

“No one should lose his job over an essay. His political views don’t make him unfit to teach,” said Joshua McNair, chairman of Student Advocates for Free Expression, who held a “Support the First Amendment. Support Ward Churchill” sign.

But his campus critics argued that although Mr. Churchill has a right to freedom of speech as a private citizen, he doesn’t have a right to a job as a University of Colorado professor.

“Resigning as department chairman isn’t enough. This man has said horrible, disgusting things,” College Republican David Shoffitt said. “People aren’t going to say, ‘Hey, I want to send my kids to CU so they can take Ward Churchill’s class.’”

The decision to disinvite Mr. Churchill from Hamilton came hours after New York Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican, said he was “appalled” that the college had invited the professor.

“It is wrong. There is a difference between freedom of speech and inviting a bigoted terrorist supporter,” Mr. Pataki said.

Miss Stewart earlier defended the professor’s right to free speech, “however repugnant one might find Mr. Churchill’s remarks,” but yesterday said that campus safety took precedence.

“But there is a higher responsibility that this institution carries, and that is the safety and security of our students, our faculty, staff and the community in which we live,” she said.


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