In case you haven’t heard yet, Ward Churchill, and justice, prevailed in
a Denver courtroom this afternoon. The jury in the 31/2 week trial was
asked to decide three questions (which I’m paraphrasing): 1)Did CU
Regents use protected speech (Ward’s 9/11 essay) as a substantial or
motivating factor in its decision to terminate Ward? The jury answered Yes.
2)Did the termination harm Ward? The jury answered Yes.
3)Have the defendants shown that Ward would have been dismissed for
other reasons? The jury answered No. In some ways this was the most
important question. By answering No, the jury said not only that Ward’s
First Amendment protected speech led to his firing, but that the
“finding” of the CU committee that Ward engaged in academic misconduct
was bogus, and there was no justification for firing him. As Ward said
to the press shortly after the verdict, and as was obvious all along,
this was a political motivated firing, and the jury in their verdict
said as much.
The jury awarded one dollar. But as David Lane, Ward’s primary attorney,
had said all along, this was never about money, it was about justice and
vindication for Ward, and that’s what the jury gave him.
Whether Ward will get reinstated is now apparently up to Judge Naves.
Attorneys have 30 days to prepare motions and then he’ll make a decision.