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More Controversy Over Univ. of Colorado Professor Churchill

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Jan. 31, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight, last Friday, we reported on a University of Colorado professor who believes that those Americans killed on 9/11 deserve their fate because they were participants in the capitalist system. That man, Ward Churchill (search), is now spreading his vile opinion around the country. Hamilton College (search), in upstate New York, was going to pay Churchill $3,500 to speak, but after our report, he waived his fee. The fact is, however, some people associated with Hamilton lost loved ones on 9/11. How cruel is it letting this guy speak?

Just so you know what we're talking about here, here's a quote from Churchill about the 9/11 killers: "They've given Americans a tiny dose of their own medicine," he says. "This might be seen as merely a matter of vengeance of retribution and, unquestionably, America has earned it." Very nice.

Besides Churchill, the villains in this awful situation are Hamilton College President Joan Hinde Stewart (search) and Professor Nancy Rabinowicz (search), who invited the guy. Rabinowicz also tried to get 1960s radical Susan Rosenberg (search) hired by Hamilton. Rosenberg served 16 years in prison for possessing explosives. She was pardoned by Bill Clinton.

That artist in residence appointment blew up, pardon the bun, when Rosenberg's past was exposed.

So clearly, there are major problems at Hamilton College. And we will give you President Stewart's e-mail after this segment.

Joining us now from Denver is Professor Paul Campos, who teaches law at U.C. Boulder. The professor is also the author of the book "The Obesity Myth."

Am I being unfair to this Churchill guy?

PAUL CAMPOS, UNIV. OF COLORADO PROFESSOR: No, I don't think so. I think it would be very difficult to be unfair to him actually.

O'REILLY: But what is his agenda? What is he trying to do? I mean, it's so over the top and so hateful, it's hard to believe.

CAMPOS: Well, it is incredibly over the top. And I would encourage everybody who's interested in this debate to actually read his essay, which is widely available on the Internet so you can decide for yourself whether these characterizations of it are accurate or not.

Once I actually went and read the entire thing, I was so appalled, that I wrote a column about it, decrying and denouncing the idea that the University of Colorado would have as a tenured member of its faculty somebody who could be spewing this kind of disgusting nonsense in the context of a supposedly academic environment.

O'REILLY: But then you go over to the — you know, I want to tell everybody you do write a column for "The Rocky Mountain News." But then you go into the freedom of speech area. And that's where all these academics are hiding.

They're basically saying OK, we all deplore what Professor Churchill says, but it's freedom of speech. He has a right to do it and all of that. How do you answer?

CAMPOS: Well, yes, he does have a right to do it in the sense that the government does not have the right to stop him from publishing what he wants to publish. And in that sense, yes, he has a First Amendment right, like all other Americans do, to say what he wants to say.

That does not mean that if he engages in conduct, including publishing things that bring into question his professional competence that the University of Colorado, his employer, cannot sanction him for behaving in that fashion.

O'REILLY: Well, that will happen on Thursday. After our report on Friday, professor, all hell's breaking loose across the country, both in Boulder and in Clinton, New York, where Hamilton College is.

The board of regents for the University of Colorado are going to meet on Thursday. I fully expect they will sanction the professor, but that doesn't mean anything to him. He's an American hater.

But here's the really bad thing about this. And here's why I'm involved with this. There are people at Hamilton — and I don't know if there are any at U.C. Boulder — but at Hamilton there are, who lost loved ones on 9/11.

I mean, this guy, this is just cruel to say these people deserved it, they were little Nazis, which is what Churchill says that these people in the World Trade Center (search) and the Pentagon were little Nazis.

And you know, there's — one of their sons is at Hamilton. How brutal is this?

CAMPOS: Well, there's a real irony here, which is that Ward Churchill was acquitted a couple of weeks ago by a jury in Denver for, I believe, disturbance of the peace in regard to interfering, along with some other people, with a Columbus Day parade. And the claim of the defendants in that case, including Churchill, was that the Columbus Day marchers didn't have a First Amendment right not to have their march disrupted because Columbus Day celebrations are an incitement to genocide and are therefore hate speech.

So in other words, this is a guy who goes around claiming that a Columbus Day Parade is hate speech and can be interfered with, but at the same time, is claiming that when he writes an incredibly hateful and just basically deranged sort of rant as a scholarly paper.

O'REILLY: OK, so this guy — you know, we — it's funny, professor, because as soon as we started doing this story, then as I said, the whole country became engaged.

This just happened. It just came across the wire that Churchill has resigned his chairmanship of the Ethnic Studies Department at U.C. Boulder. So he's under enormous pressure now.

But here's the big issue. Number one, why is Boulder sanctioning a guy who hates his country the way this man does? And number two, why is Hamilton College, which is just as guilty, all right, inviting this man to come to spread the hatred? See, I'm not getting why this is happening.

CAMPOS: Well, I can't speak to why Hamilton College is doing what it's doing, but I think the University of Colorado is doing absolutely the right thing at this point to launch an investigation to ask why is this person a tenured member of the faculty?

O'REILLY: Yes, but they knew this for years. We — they're only doing this because we started reporting on it last Friday. They knew for years this guy was doing this kind of stuff. He's not a subtle guy.

CAMPOS: Well, actually, the administrators and as far as I can tell, almost all of the faculty at the university were unaware of this essay. And that that, I think, is really quite unfortunate.

O'REILLY: Yes.

CAMPOS: And I think one of the things that needs to be investigated is why were we unaware that this person was publishing this sort of thing? And what should we do in regard to making sure the procedures so we know about what something is doing?

O'REILLY: Yes. You know what this is all about? This is about political correctness once again. That's what this is about. This guy is a native American. He feels that genocide was perpetuated on his race. And therefore, he can hate his country and say anything he wants.

The people bought into this in Boulder. And yes, he's a native American, we're not going to talk about it.

And then in Hamilton College, they basically oh, yes, we want another radical in here to shake it up. We don't care what he says.

And you know, it's an epidemic across the country in college campuses. Professor, I'll give you the last word.

CAMPOS: Well, I think what you're seeing right now this week at the University of Colorado is that, in fact, standards are going to be enforced. And we're not just simply going to shrug our shoulders and say...

O'REILLY: Well, we'll see.

CAMPOS: ...First Amendment, free expression.

O'REILLY: Right.

CAMPOS: And there's nothing that we can do about it.

O'REILLY: We'll see what happens when the regents meet on Thursday. Professor, thank you.

And if you wish to voice your opinion to Hamilton College, the phone number is 315-859-4444. Or you can e-mail the school's president Joan Hinde Stewart at jstewart@hamilton.edu.

Please keep your comments respectable. Any threats or bad language diminishes a worthy cause. We'll let these misguided people know they are doing wrong.

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