March 6, 2005 in Nation/World

Colorado prof won’t be fired over words

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 

Boulder, Colo. University of Colorado President Betsy Hoffman said a professor who compared Sept. 11 victims to Nazis will not be fired if a review turns up only inflammatory comments, not misconduct.

“If we find it is just about speech, there will be no action,” Hoffman told the school’s faculty assembly Thursday, adding that she feared a “new McCarthyism” was responsible for the uproar over Ward Churchill’s essay.

The university is reviewing Churchill’s speeches and lectures to see if he should be fired for exceeding the boundaries of academic freedom. A decision is expected this week.

Gov. Bill Owens called on the university to fire the tenured professor. Some lawmakers have suggested reducing the school’s funding.

Churchill’s essay attracted little attention until January when he was invited to speak at a college in upstate New York. The college and a handful of other schools, including Eastern Washington University, canceled Churchill’s appearances, citing security concerns.

Churchill says he wrote the essay after television networks characterized the attacks as senseless. He contends they were the logical result of repressive U.S. policies.

Tribe sues to stop Yucca nuclear waste dump

Las Vegas An American Indian tribe filed a federal lawsuit Friday aimed at stopping the government from building a national nuclear waste dump on ancestral land in Nevada.

Members of the Western Shoshone National Council cited a 19th-century treaty with the federal government that they said gives the tribe the right to stop the nuclear repository from being built at Yucca Mountain.

“Mother Earth is sacred to the Shoshone and is not to be hurt by us,” Western Shoshone Chief Raymond Yowell said outside court.

A spokesman for the Energy Department declined comment.

Nevada also is fighting the nuclear dump. It won a partial victory in a case last July that said the Energy Department’s plan did not go far enough to protect people from potential radiation.

The lawsuit filed Friday against the Energy and Interior departments cites an 1863 treaty that recognized vast stretches of territory in present-day Nevada, California, Utah and Idaho as tribal land.

Three plead guilty to robbing donation boxes

Knoxville, Tenn. Three people pleaded guilty to fishing money out of donation boxes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by using a wire clothes hanger with sticky chewing gum on one end.

Brian Keith Seal, 34; Liza Nicole Vanderpool-Chavez, 33; and Jerry L. Carter, 44, entered their pleas Thursday. They could get up to a year in federal prison at sentencing June 10 for misdemeanor theft.

Authorities said the three stole less than $1,000 from the donation boxes, which were set up by a nonprofit group for maintenance and education projects at the park, which straddles the North Carolina-Tennessee line.

A park visitor reported seeing people acting suspiciously in a car stopped near a donation box last July. A ranger stopped the car and found dozens of sticky $1 and $5 bills and a straightened-out wire hanger with goo on the end.

One of the three told rangers he won the money in a poker game.

Woman’s escape plans go down the toilet

Fort Smith, Ark. Getting tanked has a whole new meaning for a woman on the lam.

Brandy Shante Moss, 19, decided that police wanting to talk to her about a domestic dispute complaint would never think to look in a septic tank.

They did.

Officer Danny Baker found Moss in her hideout and stepped on the tank to arrest her.

The tank collapsed on Moss, injuring her badly enough that she had to go to the hospital.

Baker and his colleagues responding to the call Tuesday had seen a man and a woman run from a house to an abandoned one nearby. The woman, Moss, found the septic tank behind the abandoned house.

After being treated, Moss was booked into jail on suspicion of fleeing apprehension and two counts of third-degree domestic battery.

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