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Ward Churchill Victory Update

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<em>By Dave Lindorff</em>

A Colorado TV station is reporting that interviews with some of the six jurors in the unfair dismissal court case filed by University of Colorado Professor and Native American activist Ward Churchill against the university reveal that five of the six wanted to award him $150,000 in damages after establishing unanimously that he had been improperly dismissed by the school.

Reportedly one lone juror held out for a minimal $1 dollar symbolic award and ultimately, because they "wanted to go home," the rest of the jurors conceded the point.

Churchill, who claimed that the case was "not about money" but about vindicating his claim that he had been hounded out of his job because of his political views, hailed the verdict as a victory, because the jury decided that he had in fact been fired for political reasons, and that charges of plagiarism and fraud in his scholarship were unsubstantiated.

The significance of the $1 dollar damage judgement is that it now enables Churchill to petition the court to order the university to pay his legal costs, which are estimated to reach $1 million.

The university, through a public relations spokesperson, had claimed when the verdict against it was announced, that the jury had offered the school "some vindication" by limiting the damages to a token amount, but the new report suggests that it was actually only one juror who was offering that partial "vindication."  The five others apparently thought the university owed Churchill significant damages.

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To read more about the background of this case, which is part of a broader McCarthy-like assault on progressive and left-leaning faculty at universities around the country, check out the story on this site that I filed on April 3 titled <a href="click here for Juries."</a>


DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia journalist. His latest book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006). His work is available at <a href="click here

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)

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