William Ayers, the former Weather Underground radical whose past made him a lightning rod in the 2008 presidential campaign, said Thursday that fired Colorado professor Ward Churchill became the victim of a “witch hunt” after comparing Sept. 11 victims to a Nazi.
“There’s no doubt in my mind he was persecuted because of his politics,” Ayers said before appearing with Churchill at a student rally on academic freedom at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Ayers, Churchill and writer-activist Derrick Jensen were to speak later at an event titled “Forbidden Education and the Rise of Neo-McCarthyism.”
Churchill was a tenured professor of ethnic studies at Colorado University until he was fired on plagiarism charges in July 2007. He denies misconduct and is soon due to go to court in an attempt to get his job back.
Those fine folks at USA Today also provided a file photo of Churchill from last August, in which he’s wearing a T-shirt with the image (and some words) of Black Panther George Jackson, who was shot to death at San Quentin in 1971 during what may or may not have been an escape attempt. Jackson made his way into the California corrections system the old-fashioned way he held up a gas station which in the grand scheme of things, I suppose, makes him a more reasonable subject for T-shirt veneration than, say, Che Guevara, who preferred more Stalinesque methods of achieving power.