updated 5/17/2007 5:22:28 AM ET 2007-05-17T09:22:28

A University of Colorado committee has recommended that a controversial professor accused of faulty research be suspended for one year rather than fired.

Ward Churchill, a tenured professor of ethnic studies, touched off a national firestorm with an essay that compared some of the 2001 World Trade Center victims to Adolf Eichmann, a key planner of the Holocaust.

It was some of his other work, however, that led an interim chancellor of the Boulder campus and another committee to recommend Churchill be fired.

The professor was accused of misrepresenting the effects of federal laws on American Indians, wrongly claiming evidence indicated Capt. John Smith exposed Indians to smallpox in the 1600s, and claiming the work of a Canadian environmental group as his own.

Churchill has denied wrongdoing. After the firing recommendations, he requested a review by the university faculty's Privilege and Tenure Committee.

Three of the committee's five members recommended suspension, according to a copy of the committee report provided to The Associated Press on Wednesday. The other two members said he should be fired.

Plagiarism among charges
Churchill's work was "below minimum standards of professional integrity and ... requires severe sanctions," the committee concluded. It said Churchill "committed multiple acts of plagiarism, fabrication and falsification."

In a list of arguments against dismissal, it said his case "shows misbehavior, but not the worst possible misbehavior."

The committee said he did not fabricate data to obtain grant money, did not endanger people's lives by ignoring research standards and did not damage the progress of important research.

CU President Hank Brown has until May 29 to decide what punishment, if any, Churchill should receive.

The university released a statement saying Brown will consider "the entire record of the case, including the recommendations of the various committees that investigated the allegations."

Churchill's attorney, David Lane, said the committee report would make it more difficult for the university to fire the professor. Lane also said Churchill will file a civil rights lawsuit if Brown recommends any punishment.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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