NCAC joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in filing a friend of the court brief calling for the reinstatement of Ward Churchill, who was fired from his tenured position at the University of Colorado after writing a controversial essay. The case became highly politically charged after public officials began to call for Churchill’s dismissal because of disagreement with his views.
Last year, a jury sided with Churchill, who had contested the University’s actions on First Amendment grounds. The jury found that he had been fired because of the opinions he expressed, and that he would not have been fired but for his protected speech. Nonetheless, a judge denied him reinstatement.
NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin says,
You don’t have to agree with Churchill’s views to recognize his right to express them. In this case the university failed to uphold the most basic principles of academic freedom. Reinstatement will restore Churchill to the position he would have been in if his First Amendment rights had not been violated. It is necessary to make it clear that public officials cannot violate the Constitution with impunity.
As the brief explains, reinstatement is the only meaningful remedy available to vindicate the constitutional rights at stake in this case.
Check out more about the issue here.