Friday, August 10, 2007

CU: Churchill case has cost $352,000 so far

The Post:

The University of Colorado racked up $352,000 in legal fees and court costs in its investigation and ultimate firing of controversial professor Ward Churchill, CU officials said Thursday.

However, that price tag doesn't include costs incurred in defense of pending legal action, said David Lane, Churchill's attorney, who has sued the university claiming defamation of character.

"We will be going to trial in this case for the simple reason that Ward Churchill has basically been slandered at this point and his reputation tarnished," Lane said. "And if we win at trial, CU can expect to pay me my attorney's fees.

"I can bill with the best of them," Lane said [my emphasis].

No hearing date has been set in the case, and CU has yet to respond to the court filing, Lane said. . . .

University spokeswoman Michele McKinney said the investigation into multiple allegations against Churchill was a "thorough yet difficult and complicated process."

"The more than two year investigation was costly to the university," McKinney wrote in a prepared statement. "To fully investigate charges of research misconduct against professor Churchill, and to provide him the full due process as required by Regent Law and Policy, the university had to incur costs in the areas of legal fees, investigative costs and hearings."

Churchill, who taught ethnic studies through the fall of 2005, was fired for academic misconduct in an 8-1 decision by the Board of Regents last month.

In addition to the legal costs, CU also will pay Churchill a year's salary of $93,000.

I thought it was $96,000.

Update: the News has details:

In May 2006, a faculty investigative panel released a 124-page report showing serious and recurring problems with Churchill's work, including plagiarism, fabrication and questionable citations. At that point — more than one year into the investigations — the case cost had surpassed the $150,000 mark.

The university hired Eric Elliff, a top Denver trial lawyer with Morrison & Foerster, to provide legal guidance for the panel as it did its work and interviewed witnesses.

Also, four CU employees who were serving on the school's Standing Committee on Research Misconduct were compensated a total of $33,463. The faculty members had received grants for summer research but instead invested much of their time on the Churchill investigation.

Regent Pat Hayes, chairwoman of the nine-member board, said she was surprised by the total cost but wouldn't do anything differently.

"It is certainly money we wish we didn't have to spend," she said. "But it was well spent because we needed to do things according to regent law. In the long run, we had to do it right."

In addition to the $352,000 in expenses, a four-decades-old CU rule will require that the school keep Churchill on the payroll for one more year, cutting him checks that will amount to more than $96,000.

The payout stems from a 1966 regents' decision to adopt portions of the American Association of University Professors guidelines on tenure and academic freedom. One of those rules requires that professors dismissed for reasons not involving "moral turpitude" receive salaries for at least a year from the date of dismissal.
Update II: It worked so well for the country, why not in the classroom? Ward Connerly in Frontpagerag:

Personally, I oppose the "Fairness Doctrine" for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it presumes the ignorance of the public and our inability to discern facts from horse manure. But, most significantly, broadcast stations are not owned by the government and should not be considered as government activity. With so many different sources of information - newspapers, major television networks, cable television and talk radio, for example - it is difficult for any one source to give us a "snow job." But, there is one area of American life where I believe something equivalent to a "Fairness Doctrine" ought to be applied: the college classroom.
(via the parrot-abuser of PB)

No comments: