U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Churchill appeal

CU leaders: ‘The matter is now over’

Editor’s note: This story first appeared April 1 as a breaking news item.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday announced its denial to hear an appeal from former professor Ward Churchill, just over six months after the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed that the University of Colorado is not obligated to reinstate him, nor to award back pay.

Bruce D. Benson, CU president, and Philip P. DiStefano, chancellor of CU-Boulder, issued a joint statement:

“The University of Colorado is pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Mr. Churchill's appeal and that the matter is now over. The Supreme Court’s decision upholds a unanimous line of rulings from the Colorado courts determining that the university has the right and obligation to ensure high professional standards from its faculty. This decision is a victory for the thousands of men and women on our faculty who live up to that obligation and for the students who benefit from their professionalism.”

Michael Carrigan, chair of the CU Board of Regents, issued this statement:

“When Churchill’s comments about 9/11 first surfaced in 2005, the Board of Regents called for Churchill’s free speech rights to be protected, and Chancellor DiStefano correctly determined that no one should punish him for exercising his right to free speech. At the same time, however, it was the Board of Regents’ obligation to uphold the unanimous verdict of more than 20 faculty members who concluded that Churchill’s scholarship was illegitimate and prevent him from teaching on a University of Colorado campus. We take that obligation seriously, and today’s decision is a victory for CU faculty.”