[BRC-REP] Outspoken Native American Activist
Prof Being Harrassed for 911-Attack Views
Prof quits chair over 9/11
By Howard Pankratz
Denver Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, criticized for comparing
victims of the September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center to Nazis,
resigned Monday as chair of the school's ethnic-studies department.
Todd Gleeson, dean of CU-Boulder's College of Arts and Sciences, accepted
the resignation. Churchill will continue to teach in the department of ethnic
"I believe it is in the best interests of both the university and
professor Churchill that he step away from his administrative role in the
department at this time," Gleeson said. Churchill's term as department chair
was to expire in June.
His salary will drop to $94,242 from $114,032, said Pauline Hale, a CU
In his letter to Gleeson, Churchill said that he is proud of his
administrative accomplishments but that the present political climate made
him a liability in representing his department and the university as an
He had compared the World Trade Center victims to "little Eichmanns,"
after Adolf Eichmann, who managed the Nazi plan to exterminate Jews.
Earlier Monday, Churchill said in a statement issued through his wife,
Natsu Saito, that he hadn't compared all of the World Trade Center victims to
Nazis, just the "technicians" who died in the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I have never characterized all the Sept. 11 victims as Nazis. What I said
was that the 'technocrats of empire' working in the World Trade Center were
the equivalent of 'little Eichmanns.' Thus, it was obviously not directed to
the children, janitors, food-service workers, firemen and random passers-by
killed in the 9-1-1 attack," Churchill said.
Churchill said he isn't a "defender" of the Sept. 11 attacks but simply
pointed out that if U.S. foreign policy results in massive death and
destruction abroad, "we cannot feign innocence when some of the destruction
In the essay "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,"
Churchill said the Pentagon was a military target, "pure and simple."
"As to those in the World Trade Center ... Well, really. Let's get a grip
here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent?
Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of
America's global financial empire - the 'mighty engine of profit' to which
the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved."
Lawrence Pacheco, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., wasn't
satisfied with Churchill's clarification.
"There were no legitimate targets for the 9/11 attacks. Thousands of
innocent people were killed in New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania.
There is no way to rationalize those attacks," Pacheco said.
Churchill is scheduled to speak on a panel Thursday at Hamilton College in
Clinton, N.Y., where his comments have upset students, residents and
relatives of 9/11 victims.
Kathy Trant, whose husband, Dan, died in the attacks, plans to confront
Churchill when he speaks in New York on Thursday.
Dan Trant was a bond broker at Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost 658
"I want to ask him why he feels the way he does," Kathy Trant said Monday.
"It is just hurtful, and I think this man is looking for attention."
Richard Pecorella, whose fiancée, Karen Juday, was an
administrative assistant at Cantor Fitzgerald, said he is outraged.
"I feel it is almost defamation of character of these people," he said
Monday. "This is not an ethnic issue or freedom-of-speech issue. This is
someone outright saying these people deserved to be murdered because they
worked for corporate America. And he compares them to Nazis; that's
Churchill's comments have brought calls for apologies and demands that he
He lashed out at recent media coverage of his essay, saying it had
resulted in death threats and defamation of character.
Shoba S. Rajgopal, an instructor in the ethnic-studies department, said
Churchill's resignation isn't pleasing everyone.
"He's very sad the whole department is being dragged down by this," she
said. "He did not want the whole department tarnished. A lot of students are
upset about him stepping down. I suppose there are students who feel the
other way, too."
Speaking Monday night, New York Gov. George Pataki said he would tell
Hamilton College officials they made a mistake in inviting Churchill.
"I am appalled first that this person with such a warped sense of right
and wrong and of humanity teaches at a higher education institution anywhere
in America," the Republican governor said. "But I am equally, or perhaps even
more, appalled that Hamilton College in this state has invited that person to
participate in a forum. It is wrong. There is a difference between freedom of
speech and inviting a bigoted terrorist supporter."
Staff writer Dave Curtin and The Associated Press contributed to this
Staff writer Howard Pankratz can be reached at 303-820-1939 or
Text of Churchill statement
Tuesday, February 01, 2005 denverpost.com
Here is the text of a statement distributed to the media Monday on behalf
of University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill. Spelling and punctuation
have been left unaltered.
Press Release - Ward Churchill January 31, 2005 In the last few days there
has been widespread and grossly inaccurate media coverage concerning my
analysis of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon, coverage that has resulted in defamation of my character and
threats against my life. What I actually said has been lost, indeed turned
into the opposite of itself, and I hope the following facts will be reported
at least to the same extent that the fabrications have been.
* The piece circulating on the internet was developed into a book, On the
Justice of Roosting Chickens. Most of the book is a detailed chronology of
U.S. military interventions since 1776 and U.S. violations of international
law since World War II. My point is that we cannot allow the U.S. government,
acting in our name, to engage in massive violations of international law and
fundamental human rights and not expect to reap the consequences.
* I am not a "defender"of the September 11 attacks, but simply pointing
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.
I have never said that people "should" engage in armed attacks on the United
States, but that such attacks are a natural and unavoidable consequence of
unlawful U.S. policy. As Martin Luther King, quoting Robert F. Kennedy, said,
"Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change
* This is not to say that I advocate violence; as a U.S. soldier in
Vietnam I witnessed and participated in more violence than I ever wish to
see. What I am saying is that if we want an end to violence, especially that
perpetrated against civilians, we must take the responsibility for halting
the slaughter perpetrated by the United States around the world. My feelings
are reflected in Dr. King's April 1967 Riverside speech, where, when asked
about the wave of urban rebellions in U.S. cities, he said, "I could never
again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed . . . without
having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world
today - my own government."
* In 1996 Madeleine Albright, then Ambassador to the UN and soon to be
U.S. Secretary of State, did not dispute that 500,000 Iraqi children had died
as a result of economic sanctions, but stated on national television that
"we" had decided it was "worth the cost." I mourn the victims of the
September 11 attacks, just as I mourn the deaths of those Iraqi children, the
more than 3 million people killed in the war in Indochina, those who died in
the U.S. invasions of Grenada, Panama and elsewhere in Central America, the
victims of the transatlantic slave trade, and the indigenous peoples still
subjected to genocidal policies. If we respond with callous disregard to the
deaths of others, we can only expect equal callousness to American
* Finally, I have never characterized all the September 11 victims as
"Nazis." What I said was that the "technocrats of empire" working in the
World Trade Center were the equivalent of "little Eichmanns." Adolf Eichmann
was not charged with direct killing but with ensuring the smooth running of
the infrastructure that enabled the Nazi genocide. Similarly, German
industrialists were legitimately targeted by the Allies.
* It is not disputed that the Pentagon was a military target, or that a
CIA office was situated in the World Trade Center. Following the logic by
which U.S. Defense Department spokespersons have consistently sought to
justify target selection in places like Baghdad, this placement of an element
of the American "command and control infrastructure" in an ostensibly
civilian facility converted the Trade Center itself into a "legitimate"
target. Again following U.S. military doctrine, as announced in briefing
after briefing, those who did not work for the CIA but were nonetheless
killed in the attack amounted to no more than "collateral damage." If the
U.S. public is prepared to accept these "standards" when the are routinely
applied to other people, they should be not be surprised when the same
standards are applied to them.
* It should be emphasized that I applied the "little Eichmanns"
characterization only to those described as "technicians." Thus, it was
obviously not directed to the children, janitors, food service workers,
firemen and random passers-by killed in the 9-1-1 attack. According to
Pentagon logic, were simply part of the collateral damage. Ugly? Yes.
Hurtful? Yes. And that's my point. It's no less ugly, painful or dehumanizing
a description when applied to Iraqis, Palestinians, or anyone else. If we
ourselves do not want to be treated in this fashion, we must refuse to allow
others to be similarly devalued and dehumanized in our name.
* The bottom line of my argument is that the best and perhaps only way to
prevent 9-1-1-style attacks on the U.S. is for American citizens to compel
their government to comply with the rule of law. The lesson of Nuremberg is
that this is not only our right, but our obligation. To the extent we shirk
this responsibility, we, like the "Good Germans" of the 1930s and '40s, are
complicit in its actions and have no legitimate basis for complaint when we
suffer the consequences. This, of course, includes me, personally, as well as
my family, no less than anyone else.
* These points are clearly stated and documented in my book, On the
Justice of Roosting Chickens, which recently won Honorary Mention for the
Gustavus Myer Human Rights Award. for best writing on human rights. Some
people will, of course, disagree with my analysis, but it presents questions
that must be addressed in academic and public debate if we are to find a real
solution to the violence that pervades today's world. The gross distortions
of what I actually said can only be viewed as an attempt to distract the
public from the real issues at hand and to further stifle freedom of speech
and academic debate in this country.
NEW TEXT OF HOUSE RESOLUTION ON CHURCHILL
Wednesday, February 02, 2005 denverpost.com
Here is the text of House Joint Resolution 1011, supporting victims of the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as adopted unanimously Wednesday by the Colorado
House of Representatives. (Capitalization is at it appears in the
WHEREAS, The tragedy of September 11, 2001, marked one of the darkest days
in American history;
and WHEREAS, The terrorist attacks cost more than 3,000 innocent people
and WHEREAS, The pain of the families who lost loved ones in the September
11, 2001, attacks is immeasurable;
and WHEREAS, The healing process for those who lost a family member in the
September 11, 2001, attacks is still ongoing;
and WHEREAS, It is important for the people of Colorado to aid in and
support that healing process;
and WHEREAS, Professor Ward L. Churchill's essay, "Some People Push Back:
On the Justice of Roosting Chickens" related to the terrorist attacks of
September 11, 2001, strikes an evil and inflammatory blow against America's
and WHEREAS, Professor Churchill's essay contains a number of statements
and contentions that are deplorable and do not reflect the values of the
people of the State of Colorado;
and WHEREAS, Professor Churchill's essay, which claims that the victims at
the World Trade Center were not innocent, states, "As for those in the World
Trade Center, ... well, really, let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough,
they were civilians of a sort. But Innocent, Gimme a break." And Professor
Churchill goes on to compare the innocent victims of the September 11, 2001,
attacks to Adolph Eichmann, the man who executed Hitler's plan to exterminate
the Jews during World War II;
and WHEREAS, The sentiment of these statements strikes at the hearts of
those who lost a loved one in the World Trade Center attack;
and WHEREAS, The victims at the World Trade Center were innocent in every
sense of the word and should always be remembered as innocent victims of an
unprovoked attack on America;
now, therefore, Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the
Sixty-fifth General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the Senate concurring
herein: (1) That the General Assembly expresses its heartfelt sympathy for
the victims of the September 11, 2001, tragedy and their families; and (2)
That the General Assembly commemorates the lives lost during the September
11, 2001, attacks.
Be It Further Resolved, That copies of this Joint Resolution be sent to
University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman, the University of
Colorado at Boulder Chancellor's office, the University of Colorado Board of
Regents, and University of Colorado at Boulder Department of Ethics Chairman
Ward L. Churchill.
Text of Governor Owens' letter on Churchill
Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - denverpost.com
Here is the text of Gov. Bill Owens' letter Tuesday on the subject of the
controversy surrounding University of Colorado ethnic studies professor Ward
Churchill. The letter was sent to the College Republicans at the University
of Colorado and its president, Isaiah Lechowit.
February 1, 2005
We have come to a teaching moment at the University of Colorado. I applaud
every person on the University of Colorado campus who has come to speak out
against the indecent, insensitive and inappropriate comments and writings of
All decent people, whether Republican or Democrat, liberal or
conservative, should denounce the views of Ward Churchill. Not only are his
writings outrageous and insupportable, they are at odds with the facts of
history. The thousands of innocent people - and innocent they were - who were
murdered on September 11 were murdered by evil cowards. Indeed, if anyone
could possibly be compared to the evildoers of Nazi Germany, it is the
terrorists of the 21st century who have an equally repugnant disregard for
innocent human life.
No one wants to infringe on Mr. Churchill's right to express himself. But
we are not compelled to accept his pro-terrorist views at state taxpayer
subsidy nor under the banner of the University of Colorado. Ward Churchill
besmirches the University and the excellent teaching, writing and research of
Ideas have consequences, and words have meaning. If there is one lesson
that we hope that all Coloradans take from this sad case - and especially our
students - it is that civility and appropriate conduct are important. Mr.
Churchill's views are not simply anti- American. They are at odds with simple
decency, and antagonistic to the beliefs and conduct of civilized people
around the world. His views are far outside the mainstream of civil discourse
and useful academic work.
His resignation as chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department was a good
first step. We hope that he will follow this step by resigning his position
on the faculty of the University of Colorado.
N.Y. college cancels talk
Ward Churchill, who quit as department chair over his 9/11 comments,
insists he won't resign as teacher.
By Howard Pankratz Denver Post Staff Writer denverpost.com
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Hamilton College in New York has canceled the panel discussion featuring
controversial University of Colorado ethnic- studies professor Ward
Churchill, citing dozens of threats to the college and members of the
But 9/11 victims' relatives, who decry Churchill's description of World
Trade Center victims as "little Eichmanns," say their protests were what
forced the school to reconsider.
Vige Barrie, director of media relations for the school in Clinton, N.Y.,
said that "more than a hundred" threats had been received and forwarded to
The threats came as a result of the controversy that erupted over an essay
Churchill penned the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, comparing workers
in the World Trade Center to Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi whom Churchill describes
as "a technocrat who made sure the trains ran on time."
Churchill resigned Monday as chair of CU's ethnic- studies department but
will remain as a teaching professor with a salary of $94,242.
On Tuesday, Gov. Bill Owens suggested that Churchill resign his teaching
post as well.
"Ideas have consequences, and words have meaning," Owens said in a written
statement. "Mr. Churchill's views are not simply anti-American. They are at
odds with simple decency. ... His resignation as chairman of the
ethnic-studies department was a good first step."
Churchill made it clear Tuesday that resigning as chair was as far as he
intended to go.
"I didn't want the job (as chair of the department) anyway, so it's worked
out really well," he said, freeing him to concentrate on what he loves:
teaching and writing. As for the call of Owens, or anyone else who would urge
him to resign, Churchill said emphatically: "I'm not going anywhere."
"I was doing my job," he said, because the essay is sparking discourse and
He is being misquoted, he said, and does not advocate the violence of
9/11. His essay points out that because the U.S. has a policy, he said, of
dominating other countries, the attacks were inevitable.
Meanwhile, he said, he will continue to do what he lives for.
"Seeing light bulbs go on and seeing people as a result of what I do
connect the dots, I suppose it's akin to the birthing process," he said. "I'm
almost 60; I'm not going to be hurtling myself over any barricades."
Tuesday afternoon, a throng of students and reporters accompanied
Churchill between classes on the CU-Boulder campus. For every student who
insulted Churchill as he passed, more praised him.
"Professor Churchill is a fantastic writer, and I wanted to be in an
atmosphere where normal thought is challenged," said Shaina Mille, 20, who
says she transferred to CU from New Orleans' Tulane University because of
Other students criticized him.
"I totally support his First Amendment rights," said Allison Sands, 18,
who said she found his comments "offensive and blasphemous" and that they
should not be supported by CU.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Hamilton College president Joan Stewart
said the school had done its best "to protect what we hold most dear, the
right to speak, think and study freely. But there is a higher responsibility
that this institution carries, and that is the safety and security of our
students, faculty, staff and the community in which we live."
Dan English, chief of police in Kirkland, N.Y., said Hamilton has been
compiling e-mails and phone calls. The department's director of campus safety
will be forwarding them to English's department, the Oneida County Sheriff's
Department or the New York State Police.
English said he hasn't seen the e-mails or heard the calls, so he couldn't
comment on their nature.
Lt. Tim McGraw of the CU Police Department said CU detectives are aware of
death threats against Churchill and have taken precautions to protect
Churchill and those around him, including his students.
Some of the 9/11 families believe the real reason the school canceled the
event was because of the pressure relatives brought on the school.
One critic of Hamilton College is Richard Pecorella, whose fiancée,
Karen Juday, was an administrative assistant at Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost
658 employees in the attack.
"I believe that the cancellation of Mr. Churchill was from all the
pressure put on your institution by the families of 9/11, and it was the
moral thing to do," Pecorella wrote Stewart on Tuesday. "You want to save
face by implying the death threats stopped this."
Staff writer Amy Herdy contributed to this report
Staff writer Howard Pankratz can be reached at 303-820-1939 or
AAUP Statement on Professor Ward Churchill Controversy
We have witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of criticism aimed both at
Professor Ward Churchill of the University of Colorado at Boulder, for his
written remarks describing victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001, as
"little Eichmanns," and at the invitation for him to speak at Hamilton
College in New York. Television commentators urged viewers to write to
Hamilton College to condemn what the professor had written and the college's
decision to invite him. More than 6,000 e-mail messages were sent to Hamilton
College president Joan Hinde Stewart, who described them as "ranging from
angry to profane, obscene, violent." The governor of New York wrote a letter
of protest to President Stewart and in a dinner banquet described Professor
Churchill as a "bigoted terrorist supporter." The governor of Colorado called
on the professor to resign from the University of Colorado and, one day
later, called for his dismissal. Professor Churchill reports that he and his
wife have received more than 100 death threats. The prospect of violence at
Hamilton College led the administration there to cancel the visit.
The American Association of University Professors, since its founding in
1915, has been committed to preserving and advancing principles of academic
freedom in this nation's colleges and universities. Freedom of faculty
members to express views, however unpopular or distasteful, is an essential
condition of an institution of higher learning that is truly free. We deplore
threats of violence heaped upon Professor Churchill, and we reject the notion
that some viewpoints are so offensive or disturbing that the academic
community should not allow them to be heard and debated. Also reprehensible
are inflammatory statements by public officials that interfere in the
decisions of the academic community.
Should serious questions arise about Professor Churchill's fitness to
continue at the University of Colorado -- the only acceptable basis for
terminating a continuing or tenured faculty appointment -- those questions
should be judged by a faculty committee that affords the essential safeguards
of due process, as required by the university's and the Board of Regents'
official policies. Special care must be taken, however, to avoid applying
harsher standards in such a case, or following less rigorous procedures,
because of the statements made by Professor Churchill about the tragic events
of September 11, 2001. While members of the academic community are free to
condemn what they believe are repugnant views expressed by a faculty member,
any charges arising from such statements must be judged by the same standards
and procedures that would apply to statements unrelated to the terrorist
attacks and the loss of life on that fateful day. We must resist the
temptation to judge such statements more harshly because they evoke special
anguish among survivors and families of the September 11 victims. The
critical test of academic freedom is its capacity to meet even the most
painful and offending statements. A college or university campus is, of all
places in our society, the most appropriate forum for the widest range of
Friday, February 4, 2005
Colorado Regents Will Investigate Professor Who Compared September 11
Victims to Nazis By SCOTT SMALLWOOD
As a first step toward possibly firing him, the University of Colorado
will investigate the writings and speeches of a professor at its Boulder
campus who has compared victims of the September 11 attacks to Nazis.
Philip P. DiStefano, interim chancellor of the campus, told the university
system's Board of Regents at a special meeting on Thursday that he and two
deans would review the work of the professor, Ward Churchill. The chancellor
said he and the deans would determine whether Mr. Churchill "may have
overstepped his bounds."
Mr. Churchill, who teaches ethnic studies, has called those who died in
the 2001 attacks "little Eichmanns." Shortly after the attacks, he wrote in
an essay that the victims were not innocent civilians but a "technocratic
corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire." (The essay,
"'Some People Push Back': On the Justice of Roosting Chickens," is available
The three-year-old remarks drew attention in the past week after families
of September 11 victims and others protested Mr. Churchill's planned
appearance at Hamilton College. He was supposed to be speaking at the
Clinton, N.Y., college on Thursday night but the event was canceled by
Hamilton's president, Joan Hinde Stewart, because she was worried about
safety (The Chronicle, February 2).
As the Colorado regents' meeting began, several dozen students stood up in
the audience. Although they were silent at first, they then began shouting at
the regents, demanding to be heard. Police officers removed at least one
student, and the regents adjourned to conduct an executive session.
When they returned, they approved a resolution endorsing the chancellor's
plan to investigate Mr. Churchill. The regents also said that the professor's
remarks had "brought dishonor" to the university and that the board wanted to
"apologize to all Americans."
This week has been a tumultuous one for Mr. Churchill.
On Monday, he stepped down as chairman of the ethnic-studies department at
Boulder, cutting his $114,000 salary by about $20,000. He also released a
statement saying that news-media reports had grossly misstated his views.
On Tuesday, Hamilton canceled his speech, saying it had received threats
of violence against college officials and Mr. Churchill. That night or early
the next morning, according to Boulder County sheriff's deputies, someone
painted two swastikas on Mr. Churchill's pickup truck as it sat outside his
On Wednesday, the Colorado House of Representatives passed a resolution
denouncing Mr. Churchill, saying that his essay "strikes an evil and
inflammatory blow against America's healing process." The State Senate passed
the same resolution Thursday.
Mr. Churchill told The Denver Post that he would sue the university if he
was fired. "This is exactly what I'm protected from -- an attempt to take my
job on the basis of a difference of opinion on a burning issue," he told the
In a statement released on Thursday, the American Association of
University Professors said any questioning of Mr. Churchill's future at
Colorado should be done by the faculty and should ensure the professor due
process. Also, the association cautioned that Mr. Churchill should not face
harsher standards because of the subject of his remarks.
"While members of the academic community are free to condemn what they
believe are repugnant views expressed by a faculty member, any charges
arising from such statements must be judged by the same standards and
procedures that would apply to statements unrelated to the terrorist attacks
and the loss of life on that fateful day," the AAUP said.
"We must resist the temptation to judge such statements more harshly
because they evoke special anguish among survivors and families of the
September 11 victims. The critical test of academic freedom is its capacity
to meet even the most painful and offending statements."
Copyright © 2005 by The Chronicle of Higher Education
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