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U. North Texas Math Prof Files Free Speech Lawsuit After Being Fired

U. North Texas Math Prof Files Free Speech Lawsuit After Being Fired

“The right to express one’s views, particularly in matters of politics, is at the absolute core of the First Amendment’s protection of the right to free speech.”

The professor criticized the concept of microaggressions. That’s heresy in higher ed.

The FIRE blog reports:

Fired for his views, UNT math professor brings free speech lawsuit

In total defiance of the First Amendment, the University of North Texas has fired a math professor for criticizing the concept of microaggressions and for refusing to attend extra diversity training to correct his views, which the math department chair deemed “not compatible with the values of this department.”

Now, professor Nathaniel Hiers is suing UNT for violating his free speech and due process rights. Hiers is represented by attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The right to express one’s views, particularly in matters of politics, is at the absolute core of the First Amendment’s protection of the right to free speech. As the Supreme Court wrote in Texas v. Johnson (1989), the case in which it upheld flag burning as a protected form of protest: “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” Yet that is exactly what UNT has done to Hiers.

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.” Indeed, microaggression theory has been the subject of much public debate, including — as the complaint notes — in FIRE president Greg Lukianoff and NYU social psychologist Jon Haidt’s recent book, “The Coddling of the American Mind”.

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Comments

The problem is that anything can be a microaggression to the moonbat SJWs. The way you comb your hair or tie your shoes, the color of your jacket, anything. Worse is that those claiming to be offended by so-called microaggressions comprise a nearly microscopic percentage of the population. The many are being held hostage to the uninformed opinions of the few.

What really needs to happen is for the federal government to prosecute the management for civil rights violations and to end all federal funding at universities/colleges who violate civil rights.

I am not sure that his case will prevail. Attending training is a condition of employment. Refusing to attend seems like a separable offense. Had he gone he would have a much stronger case that the issue was about speech and not about misconduct.

    A Punk Named Yunk in reply to Hodge. | April 29, 2020 at 10:10 am

    > Attending training is a condition of employment.

    But the purpose of this training was “extra diversity training to correct his views”. Correct his views? That sounds like “re-education” camp in China, until he is willing to celebrate a viewpoint with which he disagrees.

    III = FOUR FINGERS, Mr. Smith!

    chocopot in reply to Hodge. | April 29, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Anyone with a functioning brain knows that is not “training.” That is a brainwashing/indoctrination session intended to ensure that those who stray from the fascist path preferred by the organization do so only once.

    Barry Soetoro in reply to Hodge. | April 30, 2020 at 9:18 am

    Any mandatory training should be required to have at least some reasonable connection to job performance. It’s tough to see training on purported microaggressions as having anything to do with teaching math; it’s just about promoting the progressive anti-White agenda.

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