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Prof. Charles Negy: Investigative Report is “UCF’s attempt to justify getting rid of me because I have become a political liability”

Prof. Charles Negy: Investigative Report is “UCF’s attempt to justify getting rid of me because I have become a political liability”

“The investigation and proposed termination of me sends a powerful message to anyone at UCF who holds unpopular or unorthodox views: speak your mind, and the university will devote all of its resources, for as long as it takes, to justify destroying your career.

https://twitter.com/CharlesNegy/photo

We previously reported on the targeting of University of Central Florida Professor Charles Negy over his tweets in early June 2020 questioning claims of ‘systemic racism’ and asserting ‘black privilege is real.’ That targeting by students, alumni, and other activists, was joined by the UCF administration, including newly-installed President Alexander Cartwright, who participated in the protests against Prof. Negy.

It was one of the most disgusting spectacles in a long summer of ‘cancel culture’ visited upon professors across the country. In early August 2020, we documented The administrative torment of UCF Prof. Charles Negy, and Negy’s lawyer, Samantha Harris, wrote in Quillette, The Floridian Inquisition.

Refer to those posts for details of the targeting, but understand there was one important distinguishing feature, the allegation by Negy that the UCF administration was actively soliciting complaints about his classroom conduct, since they couldn’t fire him for his constitutionally protected speech on Twitter. It was a tactic with which I was familiar, as I wrote in the early August post:

The active solicitation of complaints is something familiar to any employment lawyer.

A big piece of my practice before joining Cornell Law School was representing terminated or departed employees (“stockbrokers”) against stock brokerage firms. There was a familiar dance: After termination (whether voluntarily or not), the firm would immediately contact the departing employee’s clients, and ask about whether the clients had any problems with the departed employee. People who never thought to complain, or who didn’t understand the ulterior motive behind the question, might say things they considered innocent gripes. But those innocent gripes in many instances, became reportable customer complaints that were reported to regulators by the firm. The purpose of soliciting reportable complaints was to make it more difficult for the employee to find a new job, or if the employee found a job, to create regulatory red flags that slowed the employee’s license transfer. That would buy the firm timr to convince the clients not to follow the employee to a new firm, allowing the firm to retain the business.

So this tactic of soliciting complaints as an employment tactic is familiar to me. The new complaints, that no student ever reported before Negy became controversial, could form the basis for UCF firing Negy.

UCF launched a massive investigation into Negy’s 22-year history at UCF in order to find a pretext to fire him. Legal Insurrection Foundation joined with Judicial Watch to seek records, among other things, regarding the targeting and investigation of Negy, as detailed in Legal Insurrection and Judicial Watch investigate attacks on UCF Prof. Charles Negy.

We have received some documents, but not all to which we are entitled. We are prepared to litigate if necessary, and have been working with the premier public records attorneys in Florida.

That need for full disclosure of UCF records to which we are entitled under Florida law has become more urgent, with the release by UCF of a 240-page Investigative Report and call for Negy’s termination. UCF, pursuant to that report, issued a letter telling Negy he will be terminated on January 25, subject to his right to dispute the charges before that date. UCF designated Negy a threat to safety, and demanded he not enter campus unless accompanied by university police.

The Report is the result of what must have been an expensive and expansive investigation that involved, by its own account, interviewing over 300 witnesses, and reviewing almost every detail of Negy’s history at UCF pursuant to hundreds of complaints received after the university made a call for such complaints.

You can read the report here and notice of termination here (both already are posted in many locations on the internet and linked by news media) — it’s a disgusting example of overkill, in dumping on Negy and possibly defaming him in so many ways by characterizing him, among other things, as having engaged in criminal bribery (he disputes) and a danger to campus (he disputes), UCF seeks not just to fire him, but to destroy him.

The report proves the opposite of what UCF thinks — it proves that the investigation of Negy is the punishment for exercising his First Amendment rights. It’s all pretext, as demonstrated by the public record of UCF drumming up complaints because they wanted to fire him but needed something more than the tweets.

Negy has filed his administrative response. Here is an excerpt (bold in original):

This letter serves as my written response to your Notice of Intent to Terminate dated January 13, 2021.

In the response below, I will address each of the four major categories of allegation in the Notice of Termination. Before I do that, however, I want to clearly state the following:

This investigation was initiated – by a public message from top administrators openly soliciting complaints against me – in retaliation for my constitutionally protected speech on Twitter. Knowing that it could not fire me for those tweets, UCF has obviously gone to great lengths over the last seven months to try and find legitimate grounds for my termination. I challenge you to find any UCF employee, yourself included, whose entire life could withstand the type of scrutiny mine has been put through in UCF’s attempt to justify getting rid of me because I have become a political liability. And make no mistake, that is precisely what UCF has done: We have President Cartwright on video agreeing with a student protester that I should have been fired before I got tenure. We have on video the UCF Provost telling students through a megaphone that the way to avoid “this type of problem” is to let UCF know: “…you have to file a complaint about discriminatory behavior.” And we have on video the UCF Chief Diversity Officer telling students on UCF’s official Twitter account that “#UCFFireHim…I understand all of that, but the fact of the matter is it’s not going to happen overnight.”

The goal from the day #UCFFireHim began trending was to terminate my employment with UCF because of my unpopular views conveyed in my constitutionally protected speech. The investigation/inquisition that followed was nothing less than “show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.” If this unlawful effort to terminate me stands, not only will it severely chill the speech of faculty and students at UCF who might wish to express controversial views, but I will have no choice but to pursue legal action.

With that said, I would like to address each of the four major issues raised in your Notice and explain why they do not constitute legitimate grounds for my termination. I would also like to state that I am more than happy to discuss in greater detail any of the individual findings in the OIE report that comprise these broader findings: while you stated in your Notice that they are “too numerous to fully document here,” I am prepared to defend against each and every one of those findings in detail and, to the extent your ultimate decision relies on one or more specific findings not covered in my response here, I would appreciate the opportunity to address those specific findings.

Negy goes on to address particularly inflammatory, and he claims false, accusations in the UCF Report, including that he bribed an official in a foreign country for a vaccination certificate, and that he failed to report a teaching assistant who allegedly had been sexually harrassed in 2014 by someone else. On that latter point, Negy asserts that he never was told that there was alleged inapproporiate touching of the assistant by another person, and that administrators raised the issue with him at the time but took no action.

We have not nearly gone through all the 13,000+ pages produced so far (with more owed to us), but seeing the report and Negy’s response, this internal email by a faculty Senator may pertain, wondering how they can now punish him for something previously investigated with no action taken:

We have barely scratched the surface of what has been produced so far, and we will not rest until we receive all the documents to which we are entitled under Florida law.

Negy concludes his internal opposition to his firing as follows:

The investigation and proposed termination of me sends a powerful message to anyone at UCF who holds unpopular or unorthodox views: speak your mind, and the university will devote all of its resources, for as long as it takes, to justify destroying your career. I urge you to please consider whether this is truly the path that UCF, as an institution that is bound by the First Amendment and that purports to be committed to the free exchange of ideas, wishes to take.

Thank you for this opportunity to express my positions on these charges. If you have questions that you’d like to ask me directly about any of these matters, please communicate with me or my primary attorney.

One of Negy’s attorneys told The Orlando Sentinel:

“It’s important to put out there this is far from being the clear-cut matter that the university is purporting it to be. This is really a case of First Amendment retaliation,” said Samantha Harris, an attorney with the Pennsylvania-based Mudrick & Zucker firm. “The university has been looking for a reason to fire him.” …

A UCF spokesman said Friday that the university stands by its previous statements on the matter, which emphasize that none of the findings of an investigation into Negy’s conduct were a result of his comments on social media.

But Harris said a June 4 post on UCF’s website, which went live a few days after the start of a public outcry about Negy’s tweets, amounts to “public solicitation” for complaints about him. That note, titled “Addressing Intolerance in our Community,” and signed by President Alexander Cartwright, interim provost Michael Johnson, and Interim Chief Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Officer Kent Butler, says the university condemns Negy’s comments “in the strongest terms” and that they “are not only wrong, but particularly painful.” …

Harris, who worked for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a non-profit group that focuses on protecting free speech rights on college campuses, for 15 years before entering private practice, said UCF demonstrated “one of the most egregious abuses of power I’ve seen by a university.”

I don’t know whether Negy has the resources and stamina to withstand years of litigation like the Gibson family did. And certainly there are a lot more documents to come out and UCF will be entitled to defend itself.

But I have the same sense now that I had very early on in the Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College lawsuit, that Oberlin College’s overly aggressive attacks on the bakery made no sense based on the public record and would backfire: “I can’t imagine, based on what is publicly available, this will work.”

I don’t think the pretextual investigation into Negy in order to find a reason to fire him will work. The case UCF laid out against Negy will not age well, it will rot the longer this goes on, if Negy is able to fight massive UCF.

Is there an adult in the room at UCF asking why it is spending state money to persecute a professor in retaliation for his constitutionally protected speech? Apparently not, at least not so far.

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Comments

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“I don’t know whether Negy has the resources and stamina to withstand years of litigation like the Gibson family did.”

Let’s all pray that he has BOTH the resources and stamina.

    If you know how, help him set up a fund. Everyone’ll donate.

      SeiteiSouther in reply to TheFineReport.com. | January 21, 2021 at 12:06 pm

      I’ll definitely donate.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to TheFineReport.com. | January 22, 2021 at 10:50 am

      One way to help is to call out blacks as the most rabid racists. Not every black is a racist, but it is pretty clear that a large number are.

      There is nothing I like more is seeing people have the dream of success and the gumption to work their tail off to succeed. There are too many people who are unwilling to work and earn their way, yet they feel entitled to try and fleece the fruits of other people’s labor. Nowhere is this more common than those screaming racism and shaking down others. George Zimmerman and Officer Wilson really opened up my eyes, leading me to completely reevaluate all the Affirmative stuff.

      Everyone should be judged based on their capabilities and character, no one should be promoted or held back based on race.

The spirit of the Soviet Union is alive and well in the USA. Formerly a nation of free citizens. And it is thriving.

Coming soon, the next shoe to drop.

China ‘Big Guy’ Joe’s admin will try to draft and pass legislation legally designating the professor’s remarks as ‘hate speech’. Punishable using the full force of the state. Sentencing the professor or anyone else who says such things to forced ‘reeducation’. While Big Brother Biden’s big corporation commissars destroy their life.

Convicted murderers will have a better chance at making a living after release from prison.

Thirteen thousand pages? And they still have the gall to say “while you stated in your Notice that they are “too numerous to fully document here,”

Evidence not presented as evidence is not evidence, it is slander or rumor.

Secession is our only guarantee of freedom and safety.

    henrybowman in reply to TheFineReport.com. | January 20, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    Secession is retreat. Retreat is defeat.

      Burn_the_Witch in reply to henrybowman. | January 21, 2021 at 3:07 am

      A cute platitude, but we’re looking at the loss of all public institutions, and most of the private ones now. What is your recommendation, vote harder?

    Or … we could stop sending our children to the government monopoly bureaucratic “public” indoctrination centers called “schools”. Apparently, that extends all the way from kindergarten (yes, we adopted the German model of schooling) through graduate school.

    And we could educate our family, friends, and neighbors about this.

    And we could help others get their kids out.

    Or we could complain and make empty threats.

    The left doesn’t care where we are, they will come after us anywhere at anytime.

    Surrendering is useless…

You figure if he was such a bad person and teacher, it would not have taken 22 years to find out.

    To your comment to the effect that ‘over a 22 year career this would have come out before now’.

    Not necessarily. Look I don’t know this particular guy from Adam. I am not commenting about his situation at UCF.

    In my experience many times incidents occur over the course of a career which may not have been widely known at least officially. Particularly in the military there are numerous examples of extremely toxic SR officers, COL and General, who treat subordinates like dog shit.

    The thing is no one wants to rock the boat. In the military you can gut out a toxic boss because one of you will be transferred within two years. So you suck it up and as long as it falls on you and you can shield your subordinates then you wait it out.

    Then ten years later this person who everyone knows is an ass gets promoted again and is running a Division with two stars on hat. Suddenly this toxic leader goes too far and effs with someone who already reached their career goals and is about to retire.

    For those not familiar, reaching retirement eligibility in the military is somewhat like achieving tenure in academia. You can now say and do things that ruffle seniors feathers. You still have to play by the written rules; UCMJ, but are free to ignore the unwritten rules of complete deference to seniors. The worst that they can do is stop your next promotion.

    So our toxic leader didn’t become an ass when they got stars they were an ass all along, but any subordinates who complain were ignored due to the effectiveness in mission accomplishment. Face facts, tyrannical ass hats are very effective short term; things get done just to keep them off your back. Long term they destroy morale in the unit and cause many higher quality Soldiers to refuse to reenlist, instead opting to leave as a young Staff Sergeant ECT.

    When these toxic ass hats eventually choose the wrong target they called out on the bs in public. Then the mask slips as they venture into loony toon land in too public a forum to be hushed up. IG gets involved reports are made, statements are taken and the jerk is usually allowed to retire.

    So, my point is this; it can indeed take twenty plus years for a toxic person to finally be outed in public.

    I want to again state that I am not making the case that the subject of the article is a toxic person. In fact, it appears the opposite that the University is digging in because they know their charges are false and are going to force him to financial ruin if he fights back.

In Unwanted Advances, the superb book on Title IX abuses by Laura Kipnis, one point she makes again and again in title IX cases is the expense. A university not only has the title IX people (their salaries, etc) but will also go to outside law firms and investigators whenever ‘needed’ to make a case. Some of these cases go to the high six figures. Kipnis jokes that in one case, the expense was such that the university would have saved a considerable sum of money by offering the faculty person a quiet, plush severance.

Likewise, Prof. Negy hasn’t done anything wrong, nothing more than any other tenured academic would do in speaking his mind. It’s just that in this case, speaking his mind offended people who just can’t let the smallest ‘offense’ go. UCF would have been far smarter to buy the guy out and pour oil on troubled waters. The case would be over, they could quietly claim that they got their pelt, and Negy could have a 40 foot cabin cruiser named ‘Confidential Buyout’.

What UCF is doing is not just toxic and destructive to academic life and free speech, it’s fiscally wasteful and foolish. It’s yet another reason why, when legislatures crack down on the public universities, we’ll be told that the lawmakers are ‘anti-intellectual’.

“Is there an adult in the room at UCF asking why it is spending state money to persecute a professor in retaliation for his constitutionally protected speech? Apparently not, at least not so far.”

This question has an obvious answer. Nobody at UCF can speak up because they know the administration would come after them next. It would take state representatives and senators to complain about this situation and threaten to defund the school.

An high school classmate is a VP at CFU. Years ago former President Clinton visited the CFU Campus campaigning for Obama and my former classmate was just giddy over having shook Clinton’s hand. I asked her if it was the same hand that had diddled Monica Lewinsky. She unfriended me on FB….LOL!

    JusticeDelivered in reply to audax. | January 22, 2021 at 11:26 am

    Speaking of Monica, I was at the Comsos Club in DC, a close friend and prominent founder of a major law firm handed out cigars. I started laughing when he stuck the cigar under his nose. He asked why and I asked him if that was the Monica test.

    A few years later he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, I stayed in close contact for three months, when he passed. I still miss him. He and his family are some of the nicest and most honest people I have ever known.

A side note. But I think important. And related in a fashion.

Predicable. The anti-Trump organizations like the Heritage Foundation are suddenly in a panic because of Biden’s Executive Orders. You really can’t make this up. They have shat on Trump for 5 years.
….
So let us think what is going on here. These stealth organizations are not conservative or even pro-America. They are not for liberty or the Bill of Rights.
Having got rid of Trump by lies, fraud, subterfuge, fake conservative judges, all the while pretending to be conservative, they now want to suck money out of conservatives again all the while supporting Biden like Sessions, Barr, Comey, Mueller and all the other snakes in the grass,
….
Trust no mainstream conservative organization. None.

    RandomCrank in reply to puhiawa. | January 21, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    How did the Hertage Foundation shit on Trump? Not arguing with you. I really don’t know. Got a couple or three links?

    RandomCrank in reply to puhiawa. | January 21, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    How did the Heritage Foundation shit on Trump? Not arguing with you. I really don’t know. Got a couple or three links?

      RandomName in reply to RandomCrank. | January 22, 2021 at 8:14 am

      I’d like to know also, puhiawa. If you’re going to make disparaging and incendiary accusations about conservative nonprofits, you should be willing to back it up with facts. If you can’t, then you’re probably just a TDS troll spreading lies.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to RandomCrank. | January 22, 2021 at 11:33 am

      I founded a group which lobbied Congress for over two decades, our first office was on Connecticut, eventually we moved and were next door to the Heritage Foundation. They went out of their way to help us.

      I would be disappointed to hear that they were bashing Trump.

No academic freedom for questioning a provably false claim and asserting an empirically obvious truth. Sad.

Good luck to Prof Charles Negy … its pretty repugnant to attack someone in this way!

Welcome to America…or the coming Democrat America where its now open season on ANYONE who thinks differently from you.

    Dathurtz in reply to mailman. | January 21, 2021 at 7:12 am

    Well, we don’t get to have an open season on them. But, they sure will on us.

    Move to an area with conservative sheriffs and local voting integrity.

      CommoChief in reply to Dathurtz. | January 21, 2021 at 9:23 am

      Dathurtz,

      By all means vote with your feet. More importantly, don’t become comfortable or complacent. Get involved with local municipal and county politics. Attend or at least view the commission and council meetings. Hold local office holders accountable.

      There is a great article about this at the Federalist that lays out reasonable steps to take during this period. Had we been following the advice prior to the election maybe it could have blunted some of the d success. Much of what the d/progressive do can be stopped at the local level.

      Don’t want critical race theory in your school district? Ok are you going to school board meetings, asking probing questions, holding these progressive people accountable or sitting back letting them enact policies you disagree with but only bitching about it online after the fact?

      Note this is directed not at you specifically but towards all of us, myself included. Making time to become involved is tedious and most people won’t make the commitment in time and energy required. Way easier to complain after the policies take effect than to work to stop their implementation.

The Real Truth | January 21, 2021 at 9:19 am

YES, we are now on the road to what was once the “Soviet Union”! It is truly a SAD day in America when we no longer have FREE SPEECH, and that day is coming HERE, very quickly ! Between the lack of free speech, and the attack on Religion, that I have been seeing, we ARE LOSING America, and becoming a MARXIST Country ! I am sure that the leaders of the BLM group are thrilled because THEY are TRAINED in MARXISM !

Given UCF’s recent travails (a scandal regarding use of state money to build a new building when the money wasn’t designated for that; the coincidentally fortuitous retirement of its long-term president; the suspension and then return to the faculty of its provost for “undisclosed reasons” [hint: social media postings]; and other nonsense), it has a lot of nerve pursuing this faculty member for a few Tweets.

UCF is a public university, and Florida is ran by Republicans. Floridians who are pissed about this abomination should be on their phone or computer letting their representatives know that this is fascist behavior, and it must end. Also, who do they think ultimately pays when the good professor sues the sh*t out of UCF and wins. And if UCF wants to play by their own rules let the suffer the budgetary consequences.

The democrats are trying to strong-arm the right into becoming more passive; don’t let it work. Because the only people more passive than the folks on the right is their representatives. Collegiality only works if both sides are engaged in it.

Maybe it’s time for his attorneys to solicit complaints about his highly paid tormentors, especially including S. Kent Butler, PhD; and facts why Provost Elizabeth Dooley was placed on Administrative Leave; the investigation related thereto and the $$ settlement.

Sauce for the goose, ya know.

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