Tuesday, March 08, 2005

University Of Colorado President Resigns Amid Controversies

University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman announced Monday that she is resigning amid a football recruiting scandal and a national controversy over anti-AMERICAN activist professor Ward Churchill who had compared victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to a Nazi. Hoffman, who has been president for five years, told the Board of Regents in a letter that her resignation is effective June 30 or whenever the board names a successor. "It appears to me it is in the university's best interest that I remove the issue of my future from the debate so that nothing inhibits CU's ability to successfully create the bright future it so deserves," Hoffman wrote. An independent commission reported last year that Colorado players used sex, alcohol and marijuana as recruiting tools without the football staff encouraging or sanctioning the practice. At least nine women have said they were assaulted by Colorado football players or recruits since 1997. A parallel investigation by then-Attorney General Ken Salazar into the alleged assaults resulted in no charges; prosecutors cited concerns about evidence and the reluctance of the women to go forward with the cases. Hoffman said the school fully cooperated with the grand jury and launched financial audits of Barnett's football camp and the university's fund raising arm, even though both are independent organizations. In February, University of Colorado administrators (Feb. 3) took the first steps toward a possible dismissal of a professor who likened World Trade Center victims to a notorious Nazi. A review of Ward Churchill's speeches and writings is being conducted to determine if the professor overstepped his boundaries of academic freedom and whether that should be grounds for dismissal. Hoffman said last week that Churchill would not be fired if the review turns up only inflammatory comments, not misconduct. The furor over Churchill erupted in January after he was invited to speak at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Campus officials discovered an essay and follow-up book by Churchill in which he said the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were a response to a history of American abuses abroad, particularly against indigenous peoples. Among other things, he said those killed in the trade center were "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, who organized Nazi plans to exterminate Jews. The college canceled Churchill's appearance, citing death threats and concerns about security.