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Protesters confronted controversial professor Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado yesterday, asking him to circle the names of 9-11 victims who deserved to die on a 12-foot banner memorializing them.
Churchill has said that not all of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were innocent, so the protesters, organized by the school’s College Republicans club, decided to challenge him to identify who those people were.
The professor first attracted national attention for his essay characterizing Sept. 11 victims as “little Eichmanns,” for explaining that al-Qaida had a legitimate beef with the U.S. and for questions raised about his own background and resume.
Student protesting Ward Churchill
Churchill later clarified his “little Eichmanns” comment, saying he applied it “only to those described as ‘technicians.’ Thus, it was obviously not directed to the children, janitors, food service workers, firemen and random passers-by killed in the 9-11 attack.”
According to College Republicans Chairman Ian VanBuskirk, about 25 protesters gathered outside a classroom where Churchill was teaching.
Noting that Churchill’s “little Eichmanns” explanation did not include an exception for cops or employees of financial firms working in the Twin Towers, VanBuskirk wanted Churchill “to tell us if it was the policemen or the financiers” who deserved to die.
VanBuskirk told WND an Indian guest speaker first came out to confront the protesters, saying they were trying to inhibit his First Amendment right to speak in the classroom.
“We weren’t there to say they can’t say whatever they want to say,” VanBuskirk said. “We were there to have Churchill qualify his statements about 9-11.”
The protest organizer said Churchill then came out into the hallway to get the guest speaker and that he “took a swipe at” a video camera that was recording the event.
VanBuskirk said several students came out of the class and yelled at the protesters, one of whom was reportedly led away after destroying some of the demonstrators’ literature.
He also claimed the guest speaker left the building but not before “putting a hex on us in an Indian dialect.”
Later, the protesters confronted Churchill during an all-class smoking break, asking the prof to circle the names of those victims who deserved to die. Churchill responded, saying he would do so once the protesters started circling “the names of babies.”
“I assume that wasn’t a pro-life comment,” VanBuskirk said, “but a reference to Iraq.”
When VanBuskirk read to Churchill some of his previous comments about some who died on 9-11 not being innocent, the professor responded, according to the activist, by calling it “remedial reading.”
“I would have to agree with him that his writing is pretty remedial,” VanBuskirk said.
“I then asked him if the policemen deserved to die, and he became so flustered he just quickly walked away down to his office kind of bodyguarded by his students.”