A federal district court recently ruled to an adjunct math professor fired after he criticized flyers decrying “microaggressions,” public university officials can be held personally liable.
Nathaniel Hiers, a former University of North Texas adjunct math professor gets full support from the United States District Court for Eastern Texas after exercising his right of free speech.
The court said the university likely violated Hiers’ free speech rights when his contract was rescinded following a joke he wrote on a chalkboard.
Hiers found flyers in the math department faculty lounge about “microaggressions,” and then wrote a quip on the chalkboard: “Please don’t leave your garbage lying around,” with an arrow pointing to the flyers, which weren’t official university documents, the lawsuit says.
Judge Sean Jordan, made a ruling on March 11 in his 69-page order saying that the university officials should have known that math professor Nathaniel Hiers’ speech “touched on a matter of public concern and that discontinuing his employment because of his speech violated the First Amendment,” before they fired him for going public with his disagreement with the left-wing concept of “microaggressions.”
More details of this story from Just the News:
According to Jordan, “all parties agree” Hiers’ message “was intended as a joke,” yet math department chair Ralf Schmidt demanded the “coward … immediately” come forward. While Hiers copped to the message, he refused to apologize or participate in “supplemental diversity training” on top of the mandatory diversity training he was scheduled to take.
Less than a week later, Schmidt rescinded Hiers’ spring contract, claiming the chalkboard message was at least upsetting and “can even be perceived as threatening.” According to Jordan, the professor has “plausibly alleged that the university officials violated his right to freedom of speech.”
Only days later, the school rescinded Hiers’ teaching contract. The school used the absurd excuse that Hiers could “be perceived as threatening” others with his opposition to extremist, left-wing orthodoxy
Hiers earned his doctorate in math in the spring of 2019 and was hired as an adjunct professor in 2019. Langhofer said Hiers intended to launch his academic career at UNT, eventually working his way up from an adjunct professor to a tenured faculty member.
Getting fired as an adjunct has made it hard to find a position elsewhere, Langhofer said. Hiers has been working as a substitute teacher around North Texas, including at Denton ISD, since his dismissal.
More of this story from the WesternJournal.