“Without the help and leadership of FIRE, I am certain that I would have been forced out of my career of over 25 years”
This is an update to a story we ran in October. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education gets results.
From the FIRE blog:
VICTORY: After public outrage, Coastal Carolina University reinstates theater professor who criticized student protestors
After removing a professor from the classroom to investigate his constitutionally protected speech, Coastal Carolina University confirmed on Nov. 18 that Dr. Steven Earnest can return to his teaching duties next semester. The public university suspended Earnest in September after he argued in an email that protesting students were overly sensitive.
The reinstatement is a marked departure from CCU’s original decision to terminate Earnest, according to his lawyer, Ruth Smith. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education connected Earnest with Smith via its rapid-response Faculty Legal Defense Fund.
“Without the help and leadership of FIRE, I am certain that I would have been forced out of my career of over 25 years,” said Earnest. “FIRE’s strong support and guidance helped me to survive the mob attack with which I was faced and allowed me to move forward from a very difficult situation. University faculty are often placed in a defenseless position and FIRE’s support allows protection against cancel culture and the enemies of free speech.”
On Sept. 16, a visiting artist was working with two students of color after class when one student expressed that she felt isolated and would like to get to know other non-white students in the department. The instructor and students wrote names of other students of color on the classroom whiteboard while brainstorming ideas. Students who later entered the classroom and saw the names protested what they interpreted to be the singling-out of non-white students.
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