BOULDER, Colo. – 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.
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.
Churchill, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, said the report was contradictory and in some cases false.
"I feel like the process was a pretext" with the eventual goal to fire him, he said.
University officials said they expect to decide Churchill's fate by June 8.
The professor touched off a firestorm with an essay 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 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.
Gov. Bill Owens said that Churchill has tarnished the university's reputation and should resign.
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.