Interviews

Will the University of Colorado Pay Ward Churchill to Leave?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Mar. 11, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Unresolved problem" segment, a new charge of plagiarism against radical Professor Ward Churchill (search). And a report the University of Colorado (search) may pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars to leave.

College professor in Nova Scotia, Fay Cowans, says Churchill cribbed her article on an Indian fishing treaty. And The Denver Post reports that C.U. has agreed to pay Churchill around a half million bucks.

Joining us now from the Mile-high City, Dan Caplis, who is following the story on KHOW Radio.

All right, let's get to the plagiarism. It isn't the first time that he's been accused of plagiarism, Churchill. And this woman says not only did he plagiarize, but he threatened her. Is that what's going on?

DAN CAPLIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: That's right, Bill. And this is an enormous development.

As you mentioned a second ago, the university and Churchill were within hours of a deal which would have paid Churchill hundreds of thousands of dollars to leave a deal most of the state vehemently opposes. When this morning's Rocky Mountain News carried this major story of plagiarism you just alluded to.

But this one's different, Bill. This is the smoking gun, because here, the University of Colorado can't make excuses for Churchill, because the University in Nova Scotia (search) has concluded — their own legal counsel has reached the conclusion — that Churchill did plagiarize this professor in Nova Scotia. And then, on top of that, called her in the middle of the night to threaten her.

And we've seen a pattern of that here. He's also accused of threatening a female professor in the journalism department, said she'd get hurt if she opposed him on a campus policy issue.

O'REILLY: Yes. And you know, we'll show the tape where he pushed the reporter, when the reporter asked him about copying a drawing.

Look, Dan, there's no question this is a troubled guy, this Churchill guy. There's no question he's embarrassed your alma mater, C.U. — I don't think it's going to recover in the next 10 years from this. And now they're going to pay him a half-million bucks?

CAPLIS: That would be a disaster, Bill. It would violate every principle the people of the State of Colorado hold dear, and it would be a disaster that would haunt the university for a decade, as you say.

But the university can salvage it if they do the right thing and fire the guy. They've got a mountain of evidence. And this new plagiarism allegation which has already been upheld as legitimate in Canada could be the nail in the coffin.

O'REILLY: All right. Now what are you hearing? I mean, are you hearing that the deal now is off the table, the deal to pay this guy about a half-million bucks to get out of there is off the table because of the Nova Scotia thing?

CAPLIS: Yes. You know, maybe not off the table, but, again, they were ready to pop the champagne corks within hours, but, just in the last few hours, I've been told by high-ranking sources in the university that this plagiarism evidence has thrown a monkey wrench into the deal, and there's a decent chance it will kill the deal, as it should.

O'REILLY: That's interesting. There are, according to your reporting on KHOW Radio, some sympathetic regents to Churchill, some people who want him to get a lot of money and benefits and, you know, live a good life after he leaves. Is that true?

CAPLIS: Well, Bill, it is to a certain extent. I don't think they're sympathetic to Churchill. They just want to bury this. They just want to make it go away so that all of the university's mistakes with regard to Churchill will also be buried. But that's the wrong reason to do a deal.

O'REILLY: Well, it's impossible.

CAPLIS: It would have to stand on principle.

O'REILLY: Now we're also hearing that Churchill knows a lot about some hierarchy at C.U. and he says, if you don't pay me of, I'm going to blow the whistle on you, you knew that I wasn't qualified to do X, Y and Z, you knew that this was in play, looked the other way. How about that? Can he just blow up that whole school?

CAPLIS: You know, your choice of words is interesting. I don't know about the first part of that. The second part, I think there's a decent chance some of the top administrators are fearful for their own safety because of the way this guy goes around threatening people, and we have...

O'REILLY: No, I don't think so. I don't see that. I just think this guy is full of bluster. He's gotten away with it for 20 years. I don't see him as a dangerous individual, but maybe I'm wrong. But I think he knows a lot about stuff inside the university, and they're scared to death he's going to talk about it.

CAPLIS: That may be true. I don't know the details on that, but what I do know is this campus has a history, dating back to the '70s, of violence originated by people like this, by radicals like this.

And look at the threats he's issued toward the journalism professor, toward others on campus, now this professor in Canada, and we've got him on top instructing a guy on how to carry out a terrorist attack on Wall Street.

O'REILLY: Yes. All right.

CAPLIS: So I think there are people who think he's dangerous.

O'REILLY: It's a very interesting situation, Dan, and we appreciate you helping us out.

And, of course, we will follow it for you on Monday.

And here are the results of our billoreilly.com poll, which asked you to make a prediction. Will Ward Churchill be fired by the University of Colorado? About 35,000 of you voted. Fifty-five percent say he will be fired. Forty-five percent say he will not.

Find out for sure next week.

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