The University of Colorado Board of Regents met in closed session in Boulder Tuesday to decide the fate of controversial professor Ward Churchill, who was fired by UCB president Hank Brown on charges of plagiarism.

Ward, a professor of ethnic studies, has been the subject of a 2 1/2 year academic investigation stemming from allegations of research misconduct, plagiarism, falsification and other infractions in some of his academic writings. Churchill was expected to appear before the board during Tuesday's session. The Board is expected to announce whether it has upheld Brown's decision to fire Churchill late Tuesday.

Churchill became the center of a national debate for an essay he wrote in the hours after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in which he compared the victims to Nazi Adolf Eichmann, who helped carry out the Holocaust. That essay is unrelated to the research misconduct leading to Churchill's dismissal.

Speaking to the press earlier Tuesday, David Lane, Churchill's lawyer, said the case was not about Churchill's ability to teach, but about free speech. He also criticized the Board for meeting behind closed doors.

Lane said he would be filing a lawsuit Wednesday suing the university for violating Churchill's First Amendment rights, and that the lawsuit would public "unlike the regents' proceedings."

The Board is expected to hold a press conference late Tuesday afternoon on the front steps of the university's Memorial Building to announce their decision.