Published: March 23, 2005

University of Colorado at Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano today announced the findings of a preliminary review of allegations concerning the conduct and scholarship of Professor Ward Churchill.

The review team, led by DiStefano, found that Churchill’s controversial essay on 9/11 and other public comments are protected by the First Amendment, but that other allegations of plagiarism, misuse of others’ work and fabrication may constitute research misconduct. Research misconduct, if proven, is subject to university sanctions.

The report also pointed to possible research misconduct related to allegations that Churchill misrepresented his ethnicity “in order to gain credibility and attract an audience for (his) scholarship.”

Under established university procedures, allegations of research misconduct are referred to the campus’s Standing Committee on Research Misconduct for further investigation. Findings of the committee will be submitted to the vice chancellor for academic affairs and the chancellor for action.

DiStefano said that the recent controversy has “sorely tested our commitment as citizens and educators to the long-held values of freedom of expression, professional integrity, academic freedom and intellectual honesty.” However, he said, the university responded to the intense public debate by engaging in a deliberative process, beginning with the preliminary review just concluded.

DiStefano said, “The review process was both laborious and methodical, but we remained constantly aware of the gravity of our task and the importance of its outcomes.” He said the team researched the Laws of the Regents and the historic principles of free speech and academic freedom. They reviewed nearly 100 works by Churchill and published critiques of his work. The team also consulted with outside experts concerning relevant issues.

DiStefano was assisted in the preliminary review by Todd Gleeson, dean of arts and sciences, and David Getches, dean of law. The team’s report was released in a news conference held in Denver, following a regular meeting of the CU Board of Regents.

To read the report, statements, and other information see the special report: Ward Churchill and the 9/11 Essay.