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Former Colorado professor denied wrongful termination appeal

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2013 | Wrongful Termination

A controversial former professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder who was fired after writing an essay shortly after the Sep. 11 terrorist attacks had his appeal of his employment law lawsuit denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. Though the university maintains that the professor was fired for plagiarism, he argues that he lost his job because of the essay, which suggested that the 9/11 attacks were triggered by U.S. foreign policy.

Some readers interpreted the 2001 essay as saying that those killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center were complicit in foreign policy decisions that caused violence in other countries and inspired the terrorists’ actions. The essay provoked outrage among many readers, who interpreted it as defending the terrorists, and led to an investigation by the CU-Boulder administration in 2005.

The university says that the investigation uncovered instances of alleged plagiarism in the professor’s published writings. That was the official reason why the professor was fired in 2007. But the professor contends that the real reason for his termination was the 2001 essay, which he says was protected political speech.

He filed a wrongful termination suit and won at trial, though the jury only awarded him a token $1 verdict. He asked the court to reinstate him at his position at CU-Boulder but the court declined. The case reached the Colorado Supreme Court, which ruled that the university’s decision to fire the professor was the result of a “quasi-judicial action,” which took away the professor’s ability to sue. The professor appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court but the Court declined to hear the case, apparently ending the matter.

Source: Huffington Post, “Appeal To Reclaim CU-Boulder Job Rejected By Supreme Court,” Matt Ferner, April 1, 2013