Colorado Supreme Court Rules against Ward Churchill

Here is the opinion.

The briefs are here.

From the court’s syllabus:

The supreme court affirms the court of appeals and the trial court, both of which held that Professor Ward Churchill was not entitled to any of the remedies that he sought. Churchill brought a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that the University of Colorado at Boulder opened an investigation into his academic integrity in retaliation for the publication of a controversial essay, and that both the investigation and resulting termination of his employment violated his free speech rights. The proceedings against Churchill took more than two years and included five separate opportunities for Churchill to present witnesses, cross-examine adverse witnesses, and argue his positions. It possessed the characteristics of an adversary proceeding and was functionally comparable to a judicial proceeding. Hence, the supreme court holds that the Regents’ termination proceeding was a quasi-judicial proceeding, and the Regents are entitled to absolute immunity.
The supreme court also affirms the trial court’s ruling denying Churchill request to be reinstated and to receive front pay. The trial court accepted as fact that the University’s investigation found that Churchill had plagiarized his academic writings, fabricated evidence, and violated the University’s academic standards. The trial court ruled that reinstating Churchill would not be appropriate because the relationship between Churchill and the University has been irreparably damaged. Reinstating Churchill, the trial court ruled, would harm the University’s ability to enforce its standards of academic integrity and could impair the University’s ability to attract good students and faculty. The trial court’s rulings and findings did not constitute an abuse of its discretion and these rulings are affirmed.

Thanks for D.L. on the DL for the head’s up. Actually, it’s not on the DL. I just couldn’t resist.

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