- The Washington Times - Friday, February 4, 2005

AURORA, Colo. — The University of Colorado Board of Regents voted yesterday to conduct a 30-day probe of the writings and statements of professor Ward Churchill, who touched off a nationwide outcry this week over an essay comparing the September 11 victims to Nazis.

“At the conclusion of this examination, I will determine whether to issue a Notice of Intent to Dismiss for Cause, other action as appropriate, or no action,” interim Chancellor Phil Di Stefano said.

The board meeting was disrupted early on by about 50 pro-Churchill students who stood up and hectored the regents for a chance to speak. One student, senior Dustin Craun, was arrested and led away in handcuffs by police. At least two others were arrested.

The regents, who had announced earlier that no time would be reserved for public comment, also passed a resolution decrying the comments of Mr. Churchill, who did not attend the board meeting, saying they had “brought dishonor” to the university.

In the resolution, the regents apologized to “all Americans,” particularly the September 11 victims and those serving in the military, for Mr. Churchill’s “disgraceful comments.”

Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican who has called on the regents to fire Mr. Churchill if he refuses to resign, praised the investigation as a “necessary first step” toward dismissing Mr. Churchill.

“I appreciate the fact that the CU regents have taken the necessary first step in the formal evaluation of Ward Churchill’s employment status,” said Mr. Owens. “However, I deplore the behavior displayed by some students at the regents’ meeting. Their abhorrent behavior underscores the culture of violence that can be spawned by inflammatory speeches and essays, such as those by Mr. Churchill.”

The board’s decision came hours after the Colorado Senate approved a resolution, passed Wednesday by the House, condemning Mr. Churchill’s remarks as “evil and inflammatory.”

Mr. Churchill, who resigned as chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department earlier this week in response to the outcry, wrote the essay, “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” the day after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

In his essay, he described those who died at the World Trade Center as “little Eichmanns” because they worked in the financial industry, which he blamed for world poverty and oppression.

“As for those in the World Trade Center … well, really, let’s get a grip, shall we? True enough they were civilians of a sort. But innocent, gimme a break,” Mr. Churchill said in his essay.

Mr. Churchill also praised the al Qaeda terrorists for their courage and “gallant sacrifices.”

In the past week, Mr. Churchill said he had received hundreds of critical e-mails and phone calls, including death threats. He has promised to sue the school if he is removed.

On Wednesday, Mr. Churchill found that vandals had spray-painted two Nazi swastikas on the back of his pickup truck.

A day earlier, the president of Hamilton College rescinded an invitation for Mr. Churchill to participate in a panel discussion, saying she needed to put safety concerns ahead of Mr. Churchill’s right to speak.

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