Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Politics
  3. Political Buzz

Conservative professor denied promotion then wins First Amendment lawsuit

See also

A conservative college professor in Wilmington, North Carolina has won in a lawsuit he filed against school administrators who denied him a promotion based on his political and religious beliefs.

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. When he joined the university in 1993 he was an atheist, however by 2000 he had become a devout Christian and heavily involved in politics which led him to becoming a contributor to Townhall.com.

His lawsuit against the school alleged that he applied for a promotion in 2006 but school officials denied it to him in retaliation for his conservative political views.

Fortunately for Adams, a jury in a U.S. District Court in Greenville, North Carolina agreed with him.

According to The College Fix, the first incidence of Adams speech being suppressed happened shortly after he converted to Christianity. In 2001 one of his students penned a letter to him and other faculty members that claimed the 911 attacks happened because of America’s foreign policy. After a brief exchange the student then claimed that Adams was harassing her and she feared for her safety.

The suit explained:

“On September 15, 2001, a UNCW student sent an email to a number of students and faculty members, including plaintiff, blaming the September 11 attacks on U.S. foreign policy. Plaintiff responded two days later, calling the student’s email ‘bigoted, unintelligent, and immature,’ but noting that the Constitution protected her writing, just as it protected his response.”

There wasn’t any public attention brought to the matter until Adams appeared on the Hannity and Colmes Show on Fox News to discuss it. The girl had threatened to take legal action but never did and the school ended up handling it internally.

When Adams began writing for Townhall.com the harassment greatly increased, to the point where administrators asked him to not talk about his column on the website, also calling him various names like “a wannabe right-wing pundit,” “mentally unbalanced,” and a “pathological liar.”

Then in 2006 Adams applied to become a full professor at the school. Despite his excellent reviews and reputation as a good teacher the university quickly denied him, citing his “scholarly research” and other non-related things for the denial.

The suit claimed that:

“Dr. John S. Rice (“Rice”) believed that plaintiff was strong in the teaching category but that his research record was less impressive. Rice was concerned that plaintiff’s production had decreased since tenure, and he lamented the fact that all but one of plaintiff’s refereed publications were co-authored (noting that, in his experience, “a single authored article often requires more time and research effort than a co-authored piece,” and that “[f]aculty reviewers tend to credit single authored publications more.”)”

His attorneys lamented that the victory was an important one for free speech on campuses across America.

Travis Barham commented that “This is an incredibly important victory for the First Amendment.” The attorney from the Alliance Defending Freedom also said that “To be able to speak freely without retaliation is a principle that should be a reality on campus and the jurors reassured that.”

As for Adams, he couldn’t be happier that the jury decided in his favor.

“They retaliated against me for exercising my First Amendment rights in my column and other outlets,” Adams told Campus Reform after the trial. “I’m unbelievably thrilled [at the verdict].”

Advertisement