Jason Hill is a professor at DePaul University in Chicago who came under attack by student activists and faculty after expressing pro-Israel, anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) views.

We covered the story in early May 2019, DePaul University Faculty Condemns Professor Who Expressed Support for Israel:

The Faculty Council at DePaul University passed a resolution condemning professor of philosophy Jason Hill after he wrote an article in The Federalist in support of Israel and condemned Hamas.

Hill wrote that “Israel has the moral right to annex all of the West Bank (even Area C) for a plethora of reasons.” The article offended Muslim students and some faculty, which caused protests and a demand for censure….

Hill told Tucker Carlson on Fox News Wednesday night that no one will silence him. He made it clear that the censure is because he took “a very positive pro-Israeli stance in a very anti-Semitic culture on college campuses that are pushing for BDS movement and divestment against Israel and I’m a conservative independent who speaks his mind very clearly and will not be silenced.”

We have not covered the story since then, but Hill has continued to be in the news because of the attacks against him and his continued advocacy for free speech on campus.

On April 20, 2020, Hill filed a lawsuit in Circuit Court in Cook County, Illinois, for defamation against DePaul University, Provost Salma Ghanem, and Scott Paeth, the President of the DePaul Faculty Council at the time of the resolution.

The lawsuit is reflected on the electronic court docket.

The Complaint (pdf.) is available on the Westlaw electronic service.

The Complaint alleges, in part:

INTRODUCTION

1. This case is about a tenured professor who freely spoke his mind. Plaintiff Jason D. Hill is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Defendant DePaul University. Last year, Dr. Hill wrote an article commenting on the dispute between Israel and Palestine. His opinion— protected by the time-honored principle of academic freedom for professors—was nothing new or shocking. But to a powerful faction in the university community, Dr. Hill picked the wrong side of the debate. And for that, Dr. Hill has suffered censorship, injustice, persecution, and humiliation.

2. Accordingly, Dr. Hill brings this action seeking an award of damages to vindicate his contractual and due process rights, clear his name, and compensate him for the defendants* inflicted pain, humiliation, and agony.

The Complaint goes on to detail the alleged abuses, and causes of action for:

Count I – Breach of Contract (against DePaul)
Count II – Defamation (against all Defendants)
Count III — Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage (against all Defendants)

It also includes “Additional Counts for Future Amendment”

87. Dr. Hill has accomplished all of the administrative pre-requisites to filing additional claims in this Court alleging violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, having filed a timely Charge of Discrimination (Exhibit I) and Opt Out Request Form (Exhibit J) with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. He has not, however, yet received the Notice of Right to Commence an Action under those statutes from the Department. He will add additional claims by way of amendment to this Complaint after he receives that Notice from the Department.

Hill’s demand for relief is as follows:

Wherefore, the Plaintiff, Dr. Jason Hill, prays for damages to be awarded to him against the defendant DePaul University, defendant Scott Paeth, and defendant Salma Ghanem in an amount sufficient to compensate fully for the damages he has suffered. The Plaintiff, Dr. Jason Hill, further prays for an award of punitive damages to be awarded against all defendants for their defamation, and for their intentional, malicious interference with Dr. Hill’s prospective advantage as DePaul faculty member and public intellectual, against each in sufficiently large amount to deter similar conduct in the future.

The Plaintiff, Jason Hill, also hereby demands trial by jury.

I reached out for comment to the university and individual defendants, but as of this writing have not received a response.

 

 
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