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Colo. professor accused of research misconduct

University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, right, listens to David Horowitz, chairman of Students for Academic Freedom, in their April 6 debate on the first night of the National Academic Freedom Conference on the campus of George Washington University in Washington. Lawrence Jackson / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

An investigation of a professor who likened some of the Sept. 11 victims to a Nazi found serious cases of misconduct in his academic research, including plagiarism and fabrications, a University of Colorado spokesman said Tuesday.

In a three-page summary of its findings, the committee “unanimously found” that Churchill’s misconduct “was deliberate and not a matter of an occasional careless error.”

The panel decided that “the degree of his misconduct was serious,” but its members disagreed on the sanctions to be imposed.

One member of the five-person investigative committee recommended that ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill be fired, and four recommended he be suspended, university spokesman Barrie Hartman said. Two recommended that Churchill not be dismissed.

Churchill, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, declined immediate comment Tuesday.

relating the 2001 terrorist attacks to U.S. abuses abroad. The essay referred to some World Trade Center victims as “little Eichmanns,” a reference to Adolf Eichmann, who carried out Adolf Hitler’s plan to exterminate European Jews during World War II.

University officials had earlier determined Churchill could not be fired for his comments about the terrorist attacks, but they launched an inquiry into allegations about his research.

The committee’s full 125-page report said Churchill falsified, fabricated and plagiarized some of his research, did not always comply with standards for listing other authors’ names and failed to follow accepted practice for reporting results.

The decision on his future at the university will be made by school officials later this year. Churchill has said if he is fired, he will sue.

Churchill’s wife, Natsu Saito, who also teaches in the ethnic studies department, said Tuesday she had resigned her tenured teaching position at the school but said she and Churchill have no plans to leave Boulder.

In her resignation letter, Saito accused the university of reneging on promises to her and the department, ignoring racial harassment of the department and individuals, and treating Churchill unfairly. She said her decision to resign was not prompted by the pending report.