The University of Colorado will "vigorously challenge" any move to reinstate Ward Churchill to his job teaching ethnic studies at the Boulder campus, a spokesman told The Daily Camera. While the announcement was not a surprise, it was the first formal indication of how the university will respond to last week's verdict by a state jury that Churchill was fired inappropriately for his political views. The university has maintained that he was fired for repeated instances of scholarly misconduct. The judge in the case has the discretion to order Churchill reinstated or to instead order other compensation, such as a cash payment, but Churchill has said repeatedly that he wants his job back. Churchill's lawyers have suggested that he could simply return to campus and start teaching again, but the university spokesman called that a "spurious" premise and noted that the findings of misconduct were not discredited by the verdict. "The notion he can just settle back into his teaching duties is questionable," the spokesman said. A lawyer for Churchill called the university's position "offensive," adding that "a jury of their peers has convicted them of being constitutional violators."
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