Prof. Gregory Manco Sues St. Joseph’s U, Administrators, And Former Student After Online Mob Attacks
Allegations: “Dr. Manco, a Caucasian former Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics at St. Joseph’s seeks damages from St. Joseph’s as it is responsible for the actions of a small group of administrators when they purported to give credence to completely false, unsupported, undocumented, and implausible allegations of racial bias, and then used those allegations to justify an investigation, suspension and non-renewal of his contract….”
We first wrote about St. Joseph’s University professor Gregory Manco in February 2021. In many ways, Prof. Manco was just one more example of the purge in academia where students falsly smear and try to take down a right-of-center professor, and administrators play along.
But each of the dozens of cases we have followed is horrible in its own way, and Prof. Manco’s case was horrible in the combination of doxxing, brazen student maliciousness, and administrative spinelessness (at best). Our first post laid out how it all started, Saint Joseph’s U Math Prof. Gregory Manco Targeted For Cancellation Over Tweet Opposing Reparations:
Here we go again. Another Professor targeted for cancellation because of tweets that offended a small number of people. In this case, we can see it playing out in real time.
The Professor is Gregory Manco, an Assistant Visiting Professor of Mathematics at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Manco does not have tenure, and has had his 1-year contracts renewed annually for over 15 years.
Manco also is the volunteer Assistant Baseball Coach, to which he devotes enormous time without pay. His role in working with the baseball team has been repeatedly praised by the university.
I’m not sure how Manco would be classified politically. Perhaps “classical liberal,” someone who believes in individual rights and capitalism. He has written op-eds on political topics expressing such views. He also wrote an op-ed that people should Fight racism with individualism, capitalism, limited government, in which he argued against the “white fragility” training, Kendi-style “antiracist” activism, and Black Lives Matter.
Manco used a pseudononymous Twitter account, @SouthJerzGiants (South Jersey Giants). His connection to that account was not generally known.
Manco’s time at St. Joseph’s has been uneventful until now. For reasons that are not immediately clear, someone or some persons targeted Manco to try to get him fired. They somehow learned that he was the person behind the South Jersey Giants Twitter account, and then complained (archive) to St. Joseph’s on Twitter, which then promised immediate action (archive).
Knowing that the complaints were going to be public and that the school student newspaper was planning on running a story about it, Prof. Manco decided to go public on his Twitter account, in a thread (archive) laying out what has happened….
Our original post has a lot of screenshots, that are linked above. This was a student mob forming trying to get Prof. Manco fired for the fun of it. The administration almost immediately put Prof. Manco on paid leave. But the mob was not satisfied and continued the demands that Prof. Manco be fired.
As we have seen in other cases, when the original claims were shown to be false, new claims were made and attempts were made to make complaints about classroom conduct that never were made before:
But it gets worse, there appears to be an effort to expand the claims against Manco beyond the tweets. This is the tactic used against University of Central Florida (now fired) Professor Charles Negy, where the activists trying to get him fired and the university itself enouraged complaints about Negy’s classroom conduct. UCF, knowing it couldn’t fire Negy for his tweets, then used the pretext of (the new) complaints about classroom and other non-tweeting conduct to fire him.
I don’t know if St. Joseph’s has the bad intentions that UCF had, but it’s clear that is the direction the people lined up against Manco are using. This Twitter account is making the claim there were complaints unrelated to the tweets, but that seems unlikely given St. Joseph’s twitter response reacting to the tweets as well as other reporting.
Then, surprise, St. Joseph’s investigation ended and Prof. Manco was Cleared Of Student Bias Accusations. But that’s not how the university spun it – the university said there was inconclusive evidence, something Prof. Manco disputed was an accurate statement about the 10-page investigative report:
As first reported by The College Fix, Prof. Manco has been cleared in the investigation:
A three-month investigation into the Twitter history of math Professor Gregory Manco has been concluded and Saint Joseph’s University administrators have determined that it is not possible to conclude the educator violated any campus policies.
“The potential outcomes of an investigation include a finding of more likely than not that a violation of policy occurred, a finding of more likely than not that a violation of policy did not occur, or no determination could be made,” Gail Benner, director of public relations for St. Joseph’s University, told The College Fix via email on Wednesday
“In this case, a definitive determination could not be made due to insufficient evidence,” she said.
Here is the text of an email to me from Ms. Benner of St. Joseph’s about the outcome:
The University received more than a dozen reports of alleged bias or discriminatory conduct in the classroom and on social media submitted by current and former students. The University’s policies obligate and guide its response to these reports. A thorough review and investigation, conducted by an independent third-party, considered the totality of the information gathered and assessed the submitted reports, which allege bias or discriminatory activity from four years ago through this year.
The potential outcomes of an investigation include a finding of more likely than not that a violation of policy occurred, a finding of more likely than not that a violation of policy did not occur, or no determination could be made. In this case, a definitive determination could not be made due to insufficient evidence.
As an institution of higher education, Saint Joseph’s will continue to prioritize fostering a safe learning environment and the exchange of ideas is integral to this effort. We support the rights of our campus community to express their opinions in a respectful and responsible manner that furthers our commitment to a diverse and inclusive community, strengthened intellectually and socially by the range of knowledge, opinions, beliefs, perspectives, identities, and backgrounds of its members. Furthermore, we encourage our community to report concerns of bias, discrimination and harassment so that the University can address the issues promptly and according to existing policies.
I noted at the time:
This email and public position by St. Joseph’s is problematic. It is my understanding that in fact there is a written report by the University that clears Prof. Manco. If that is the case, then St. Joseph’s should have offered Prof. Manco complete public vindication, not a weakly worded statement about “insufficient evidence” for “a definitive determination.”
I wasn’t sure whether it was over:
Prof. Manco provided this statement to me:
“I was confident all along that a fair investigation would clear me. Yet I find myself not happy but rather upset that I was suspended and investigated in the first place. This never should have happened, and I hope that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
It’s not clear that Prof. Manco has won, yet. He is on one-year renewable contracts, so it remains be seen if St. Joseph’s will renew Prof. Manco.
Additionally, don’t underestimate the damage that is done by being the subject of such torment, both to the individual and the campus free expression climate. The student crybullies pay no price for their abuse of process, and achieve a great deal because they silence others who do not want to be the next target. Prof. Manco’s Twitter account is now locked, and professors and students at St. Joseph’s will learn the lesson to keep quiet.
Surprise, it wasn’t over.
We lost track of the story, but apparently Prof. Manco was not renewed, then was hired in a lower category, and now he’s suing both the university, a faculty member, and some of the former students. The lawsuit was first disclosed by Todd Shepherd on the Broad and Liberty website:
Greg Manco, a former St. Joseph’s University professor subjected to a conduct investigation but later let go by the university, filed a federal lawsuit Friday alleging defamation, civil conspiracy, and other charges following a Twitter controversy last February that he says led to his contract being dropped.
The lawsuit alleges many details previously not in the public sphere, including an allegation that the university conspired with a former student to amass more evidence of Manco’s purported racist behavior. The complaint states that Manco had given the former student an “F” grade in his class in the spring of 2017, and that the student did not complain about Manco while enrolled.
The 67-page suit also names five alumni and one current faculty member as defendants. It does not request a specific dollar amount for damages, which include “back-pay and front-pay, compensatory, and punitive damages,” and other relief.
Shepherd provides more details on what happened to Prof. Manco after our last report:
Even though no wrongdoing by Manco was found, the university decided not to renew his contract as a “visiting professor” for the following semester — something the university blamed on shifting enrollment numbers and ongoing budget considerations and not on the tweets….
Even though the university did not renew Manco’s contract for the 2021-22 academic year, it did hire him as an adjunct professor, and he is currently teaching. The adjunct position, however, is far less secure in terms of future employment, and it pays a smaller salary with fewer benefits.
The Complaint, uploaded with some redactions at Broad and Liberty, contains this Introduction:
1. Dr. Manco, a Caucasian former Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics at St. Joseph’s seeks damages from St. Joseph’s as it is responsible for the actions of a small group of administrators when they purported to give credence to completely false, unsupported, undocumented, and implausible allegations of racial bias, and then used those allegations to justify an investigation, suspension and non-renewal of his contract as a Visiting Professor of Mathematics, despite his dedication and excellent performance. In doing so, St. Joseph’s, violated its legal duty by discriminating against him, on the basis of his race, and breached its contractual and other legal obligations to him.
2. More specifically, Dr. Manco was subjected to discrimination and retaliation because of his race in violation Civil Rights Act of 1866, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §1981 (“Section 19817).
3. Dr. Manco seeks damages, including economic, including back-pay and frontpay, compensatory, and punitive damages, and all other relief under applicable federal and state law as the Court deems appropriate.
4. Dr. Manco also secks damages from St. Joseph’s, Colbert, Loue, Carman, Fahey, Lopez, and Dr. Liebell, for defaming him, putting him in a false light, and for civil conspiracy
5. Dr. Manco also seeks damages from Lopez, Colbert, Loue, Carman, and Fahey for tortiously interfering with his employment contract with St. Joseph’s.
6. Based on the actions described herein, it is clear that all of the defendants acted to “cancel” Dr. Manco. In other words, defendants’ actions consisted of the social phenomenon of “cancel culture,” which is widespread, has ruined lives, damaged reputations, and jeopardized the futures of individuals. This is exactly what defendants attempted to accomplish by their actions, and for which they were successful.
We reached out to St. Joseph’s for comment, but have not heard back. St. Joseph’s provided this comment to Shepherd:
Gail Benner, a communications officer with the university, told Broad + Liberty, “The matter is before the court, and out of respect for the judicial process, Saint Joseph’s University will respond in that forum.”
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