College Official Resigns Over Sept. 11 Speaker

The head of a gender studies program at Hamilton College (search) has resigned after igniting a furor by inviting to the campus a professor who likened the Sept. 11 victims to Nazis.

Nancy Rabinowitz said she was stepping down "under duress" as director of the Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society and Culture (search). She will continue to teach comparative literature.

Rabinowitz resigned in a telephone call Thursday to the college's president.

On Feb. 3, she extended a speaking invitation to University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill (search), who in an essay written shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks compared the World Trade Center (search) victims to "little Eichmanns," a reference to the Nazi bureaucrat Adolf Eichmann.

His appearance was ultimately canceled by the school because of death threats against college officials and Churchill.

Rabinowitz also drew fire in November when the program she headed offered a temporary teaching position to 1960s radical Susan Rosenberg. Rosenberg was indicted but never tried in a 1981 armored car robbery that left a guard and two police officers dead. She was sentenced for 58 years in prison for weapons possession, but President Clinton granted her clemency in 2001 after she served 16 years.

Rabinowitz has been the project's only director since its founding in 1996.

"What the project needs now is someone more adept at the kind of political and media fight that the current climate requires. Therefore, it is in the interests of the mission of the project itself and for no other reason that I am yielding to requests that I resign," she said.

Hamilton is a liberal arts school with 1,750 students. It is about 40 miles east of Syracuse.