A Fort Lewis College student group has invited Ward Churchill, the controversial former University of Colorado professor, to speak on campus.
Churchill is scheduled to speak at an event set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the College Union Building Ballroom. He was invited by Small Axe, Small Steps, a Native American student group.
Churchill was fired from CU in 2007 for what the university described as academic fraud. Churchill had called victims of Sept. 11 "little Eichmanns" in an essay that also said the Twin Towers were "military targets."
A flier for the event said Churchill will discuss "indigenous resistance to colonization, both historical and contemporary."
The college said it would allow Churchill's visit to go forward in the name of free speech, despite some misgivings from faculty members.
The event Saturday, "Truth & Medicine," will feature Churchill as keynote speaker. His wife, activist Natsu Saito, also will speak, and the hip-hop group Savage Family is scheduled to perform.
College President Brad Bartel said Small Axe, Small Steps was a small group of perhaps six students.
"Although the administration does support the current film festival sponsored by this student club, the public should know that the administration of Fort Lewis College does not support Mr. Churchill's appearance," Bartel said in a news release.
Bartel said attendees "should honor civility and respectful discussion at all times. However, Mr. Churchill has been found by the University of Colorado-Boulder to have violated academic standards of inquiry and scholarship; his career running counter to the Fort Lewis College tradition of liberal arts excellence and professionalism. I have chosen not to attend this event due to his violations of academic integrity."
A Denver jury last week determined CU wrongly fired Churchill. Jurors awarded him just $1 in damages.
Chief Denver District Judge Larry Naves will decide at a yet-to-be-scheduled hearing whether Churchill can return to CU, which says it fired him because of academic fraud that surfaced after the essay caused a national firestorm.
Small Axe, Small Steps' goal "is to help students develop leadership and communication skills while working on projects that promote environmental stewardship and social justice," according to a description on the FLC Web site.
Attempts to reach students with Small Axe, Small Steps on Wednesday were not successful.
In conjunction with the "Truth & Medicine" program, Small Axe, Small Steps will hold a film festival beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Noble Hall, Room 130. Savage Family also will perform at 9 p.m. in the college amphitheater.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.