N.Y. professor loses post over Churchill controversy
Clinton, N.Y. – A professor at a small New York state college has stepped down as a program director after igniting a furor by inviting Ward Churchill, a University of Colorado professor who compared Sept. 11 victims to Nazis, to speak on campus. Nancy Rabinowitz of Hamilton College said she was resigning “under duress” as director of the Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society and Culture. She will continue to teach comparative literature. Rabinowitz extended an invitation to speak to Churchill, whose essay written shortly after the 2001 attacks compared the World Trade Center victims to “little Eichmanns,” a reference to the Nazi who organized details of the Holocaust. His appearance was ultimately canceled by the school, which cited death threats against college officials and Churchill as a reason. “I would have preferred to stay on until I took my long-awaited sabbatical,” Rabinowitz said in a statement released by the school. She has been the project’s only director since its founding in 1996. “What the project needs now is someone more adept at the kind of political and media fight that the current climate requires. Therefore, it is in the interests of the mission of the project itself and for no other reason that I am yielding to requests that I resign,” she said. Churchill, a tenured professor, recently resigned as chairman of the ethnic studies department amid the uproar over his essay. The school is investigating his writings and speeches to decide if he should be fired. Rabinowitz also drew fire in November when the program offered a temporary teaching position to 1960s radical Susan Rosenberg. Rosenberg was indicted but never tried in a 1981 armored car robbery that left a guard and two police officers dead. She was sentenced for 58 years in prison for weapons possession, but President Clinton granted her clemency in 2001 after she served 16 years. Hamilton, a liberal arts school with 1,750 students, is about 40 miles east of Syracuse, N.Y.