Ever heard of something called the First Amendment?

The University of North Texas apparently has not. However, it’s possible a judge might just remind them of it soon, because a math professor fired for criticizing microaggressions and refusing to attend extra diversity training just filed a lawsuit for violating his free speech and due process rights.

The math department chair told the professor he held views that were “not compatible with the values of this department.”  

Professor Nathaniel Hiers is being represented by attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a wonderful associated run by Michael Farris, our good friend.

FIRE has more about how this all went down:

The trouble started in November 2019, when someone anonymously left a stack of flyers in the faculty lounge explaining the concept of microaggressions, which the flyers described as “verbal and nonverbal behaviors” that “communicate negative, hostile, and derogatory messages to people rooted in their marginalized group membership.” According to his complaint, Hiers believes that the concept of microaggressions “hurts diversity and tolerance” because it “teaches people to see the worst in other people, promotes a culture of victimhood, and suppresses alternative viewpoints instead of encouraging growth and dialogue.”

So in response to the flyers he disagreed with, Hiers wrote a note on the chalkboard in the faculty lounge that read “please don’t leave garbage lying around,” with an arrow pointing to the stack of flyers. 

According to Hiers’ complaint, professors regularly leave comments and jokes on the faculty lounge chalkboard, often anonymously. But this time, Ralf Schmidt, chair of the math department, sent an email to the entire department with a photo of the comment, stating “Would the person who did this please stop being a coward and see me in the chair’s office immediately. Thank you.” 

According to Hiers, when he went to meet with Schmidt on November 26, Schmidt pressured him to apologize for the flyers and asked if he would like to attend additional diversity training (beyond UNT’s required diversity training, which Hiers was already scheduled to attend). Hiers declined to apologize or to attend additional training. 

On December 1, Hiers was notified that UNT had terminated his employment. While this already would have been constitutionally suspect given the ongoing controversy over Hiers’ expression, Schmidt made crystal clear in an email that Hiers had, in fact, been fired for his views.

“My decision not to continue your employment in the spring semester was based on your actions in the grad lounge on 11/26, and your subsequent response,” Schmidt wrote. 

So, let me get this straight.  If you are a member of the faculty at the University of North Texas, you can send out materials all day long – as long as the materials promote the ridiculous notion of “microagressions.”  But if you denounce the politically correct lunacy, you’ll lose your job.

As Nicholas A. Christakis wrote, “firing a professor (from a state university, no less) for expressing his opinions is foolish and contrary to the purpose of a university.”

Exactly.  I’m old enough to remember when universities pretending to be the “marketplace of ideas.”

Image Credit: Wikipedia


About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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