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U. Central Florida Prof. Charles Negy, Fired After Tweeting “Black Privilege is Real,” Ordered Reinstated With Tenure and Back Pay

U. Central Florida Prof. Charles Negy, Fired After Tweeting “Black Privilege is Real,” Ordered Reinstated With Tenure and Back Pay

Arbitrator finds no “just cause” for termination. Negy: “UCF Administrators (and all university administrators) need to get the message that they cannot simply ‘purge’ or even discipline professors who do not conform to the DEI ideology that they are imposing on entire university campuses.”

https://twitter.com/CharlesNegy/photo

The treatment of University of Central Florida professor Charles Negy was one of, if not the, most egregious abuses of power in the dozens of ‘cancel culture’ cases we’ve seen. The short version is that shortly after the George Floyd death and in the midst of nationwide protests and riots, Negy made tweets from his personal Twitter account

One tweet, which no longer is available,said:

“If Afr. Americans as a group, had the same behavioral profile as Asian Americans (on average, performing the best academically, having the highest income, committing the lowest crime, etc.), would we still be proclaiming ‘systematic racism’ exists?”

second tweet, also no longer available, said:

“Black privilege is real: Besides affirm. action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege. But as a group, they’re missing out on much needed feedback.”

The tweets caused student protests, threats, and administrative retribution. There was a Change.org petition with over 30,000 signatures, a Twitter hashtag was launched (#UCFFireHim) that trended, the student Senate passed a resolution, and there were protests on campus in which the President participated.

Recognizing that it could not fire him for the tweets, which were protected speech, UCF launched an eight-month wide-ranging investigation to find a reason to fire Negy. UCF eventually purported to find reasons, some dating back over a decade, and fired Negy.

Here are some of our posts, please read them if you want to be sickened at his treatment:

The treatment of Negy became a focus of collateral litigation regarding the lack of free speech at UCF:

Negy, because he was a union member, took UCF to arbitration, and was represented by counsel appointed by the union. The arbitrator has issued his Arbitration Award, dated May 16, 2022, ordering Negy reinstated with tenure and back pay. Here’s the key conclusions and findings:

What determines the outcome of this dispute is the interpretation of the meaning of Just Cause illuminated and guided by the facts.

The facts persuasive are that we have a professor of some 18 years tenured with consistently outstanding annual evaluations, with three TIP awards, recipient of a special pay adjustment successfully designed to persuade him not to leave UCF. There is no evidence that UCF gave him reason to believe he was anything but as highly esteemed as his evaluations and treatment, with no reason to perform differently.

At some point in 2020 a furor erupts over tweets from his twitter account, activity not related to his duties and also is protected free speech. There ensues a campaign by UCF to find out more about Dr. Negy’s classroom performance as related by his students. UCF reaches out to previous students, gets a number of responses and determines that serious misconduct has been occurring for years, lamenting that no system for detecting such misconduct existed to alert management to such disrepute. And, the misconduct is of such magnitude that the only course of action is immediate termination.

“NOT SO,” says Just Cause, that protective device designed to provide due process for employees in cases of discipline. Because this is an employee with more than 20 years of service teaching some highly emotion-laden courses that the employer has evaluated consistently as about as good as it gets, the employer is obligated to bring more to bear than a consideration long after the fact of how bad was the performance, the stated rationale by Dr. Johnson. UCF was also obligated to consider who was at fault for what, and how do the concepts of just cause and its instrument – progressive discipline – play into the decision – making dealing with the deficiencies alleged.

Put more bluntly, UCF made the basic mistake of acting as if management bore no responsibility. Nor did it give consideration to the messages in the form of evaluations and rewards sent year after year to validate Dr. Negy’s teaching, and now it wants to blame only him – with capital punishment – for what it retroactively sees as serious misconduct. Management cannot escape its obligation to clearly communicate its requirements. It must also be clear in what it communicates about performance. It does no justice to claim it made enormous evaluations errors for 20-plus years and then castigate the employee with termination.

Just Cause requires more consideration of Dr. Negy than what UCF offered. It is not a matter of sufficiency of evidence to prove misconduct years after the fact after you have heaped accolades for the performance period now being reviled.

No claim was made that Dr. Negy is not capable of responding to a demand by UCF that he modify his teaching practice to meet appropriate demands for change. The decision appears to have been taken based on Dr. Johnson’s conclusion, as he testified ” … it’s because Dr. Negy’s chief job is teaching, and we had come to the conclusion that his behavior in the classroom was unacceptable, was deleterious to students, and was dangerous. We didn’t see any way to put him safely in a classroom situation again” (tr.p.110). Saying so does not end the matter.

The University appears to use the 2014 incident with the female complaint about the TA to buttress its claim that Dr. Negy creates a safety risk. I find that Dr. Negy’s account of his actions in that case is a plausible accounting, not overcome by evidence rising to the level of credible. Once again, management failed the requirements of Just Cause in that UCF made no effort to offer Dr. Negy an opportunity to make whatever appropriate changes to his conduct in the classroom or, alternatively, determine and support a conclusion that Dr. Negy was incapable of corrected behavior, therefore unqualified for the protections of Just Cause. I find it unnecessary to make any determination that any specific charge or complaint was proven as a matter of evidence, inasmuch as there was basic absence of due process by UCF.

THE UNIVERSITY VIOLATED ARTICLE 16.7 IN THAT THERE WAS NOT JUST CAUSE TO TERMINATE DR. NEGY ON JANUARY 29, 2021.

THE REMEDY IS FULL REINSTATEMENT, WITH TENURE, AND WITH ALL COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS FULLY RESTORED TO THAT IN EFFECT AS OF THE TERMINATION DATE.

Negy issued this statement to Legal Insurrection:

The fact that a university would pursue a pretextual investigation with a foregone conclusion to fire a tenured professor because the professor does not conform to “diversity/equity/inclusion” (DEI) ideology is — pretty disgusting in my opinion.  University of Central Florida (UCF) investigated my entire 22 year career with them in search of something–anything–that they believed they could use to justify their firing of me.  Today, after a year and a half of grieving this with the assistance of the United Faculty of Florida’s Union-appointed attorney (H.B. Stiver of Tallahassee, Florida), I learned that I’ve been fully reinstated in my job with full back-pay and benefits. I do anticipate that I will file a lawsuit against UCF really soon.  UCF Administrators (and all university administrators) need to get the message that they cannot simply “purge” or even discipline professors who do not conform to the DEI ideology that they are imposing on entire university campuses.

UCF has not responded, as of this writing, to our request for comment. [See Update below]

This obviously is a huge victory for Negy, but the fight is not over. UCF may have the ability to appeal or otherwise contest the arbitrator ruling, and Negy is evaluating possible suit against the university and its officials in federal court for violation of his rights.

We will continue to cover this case.

UPDATE

Samantha Harris, an attorney for Negy, provided the following statement:

The arbitrator’s decision is a powerful blow to the “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime” treatment so often given to professors, like Dr. Negy, who express opinions out of step with today’s sacred campus orthodoxies. It is a victory for accountability and a reminder that due process matters. Nothing can give Dr. Negy the last two years of his life back, or take away the pain and humiliation he has endured at the hands of UCF administrators, but today is a good day.

UCF Assistant Vice President for Communications Chad Binette provided a statement that suggests UCF will not contest the arbirator award:

At UCF, we support faculty members’ right to academic freedom and the First Amendment rights of everyone in our campus community to freely express their opinions, and we encourage the expression of diverse points of view in a civil manner.

At the same time, we expect that faculty and staff members have a responsibility to not impose their personal beliefs on students, and we do not tolerate discrimination against any member of our campus community.

UCF stands by the actions taken following a thorough investigation that found repeated misconduct in Professor Negy’s classroom, including imposing his views about religion, sex and race. However, we are obligated to follow the arbitrator’s ruling.

[Note: The headline was changed shortly after publication]

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Comments

Diversity, Inequity, and Exclusion (DIE) ideology breeds adversity.

    Peabody in reply to n.n. | May 18, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    “America can’t guarantee success, but it can guarantee an equal start — but only if we are race-neutral in our thinking.” (quoted)

henrybowman | May 18, 2022 at 4:49 pm

The Court should sentence the administrator to mandatory sensitivity training on free speech rights.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to henrybowman. | May 19, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    And they should also award jaw dropping damages, with key culpable administrators terminated. Also, students who participated in this should be expelled.

    This court may not be able to do any of these things, I hope that these other issues are addressed. It would be educational if students who played a role ended up with say $100,000 of debt for their actions.

They also need a clear reminder and public, full acknowledgement that public universities do NOT have the same “rights” as private universities or private employers. They are indeed, government institutions.
They are public employees no different than cops or politicians. Communications are public record. Constitution protections apply to students and staff, on duty and especially- off duty.

Here in Florida, DeSantis said in his first year as governor he basically told University presidents here to “knock it off” with their discriminatory practices towards Conservative students (and by extension all Conservative thought) because as public universities they are funded by our money as taxpayers. https://www.flgov.com/2019/04/15/governor-ron-desantis-calls-on-state-colleges-and-universities-to-adopt-free-speech-resolution/

This year, the legislature with DeSantis prodding is beginning to give these “institutions of higher learning” the Disney treatment. Professor Negy is benefiting from this pushback and like many of us are tired of this liberal mindset of censor, destroy and threaten anyone who does not follow the party line.

PrincetonAl | May 18, 2022 at 7:23 pm

Prediction: UCF will go full Oberlin.

(Never go full Oberlin)

If they don’t it’s only because of DeSantis.

Not because they don’t want to destroy him. Remember the process is part of the punishment. That’s why they will appeal until they run out of appeals.

And if that fails, they will start investigating all over again and find new trumped up charges.

SJWs always lie and never quit.

    Correct.

    Gosport in reply to PrincetonAl. | May 18, 2022 at 11:16 pm

    Oberlin is a private college funded by a large endowment. Its executives are answerable only to their financial supporters.

    UCF is a public university and its executives are answerable to the taxpayers of Florida through their representatives in Tallahassee.

    The public and legislature of Florida is in no mood to piss away money on supporting a woke extremist point of view in their educational institutions. Unlike the cooked up BS UCF pulled on Dr. Negy, the case against the executives of UCF for their wrongful persecution of him would be a slam dunk.

      A Punk Named Yunk in reply to Gosport. | May 19, 2022 at 11:55 am

      This suggests a solution: Any state-funded university that behaves in this insane, woke manner: Immediately stop all state funding.

      Similarly, dry up funding for the cost of -Studies programs at all colleges. They are all garbage anyway and produce whiny, entitled graduates that nobody in his right mind would hire. And withhold the cost of hiring “diversity” deans and professors.

      hrhdhd in reply to Gosport. | May 19, 2022 at 6:08 pm

      Well, sort of. UCF is governed by a Board of Trustees, half of whom are appointed by the governor and half by the SUS’s Board of Governors. The majority of the BOG is appointed by the governor.

        Gosport in reply to hrhdhd. | May 20, 2022 at 3:10 am

        UCF is screwing the pooch. President, Dean, head football coach, board of trustees, chief janitor… it doesn’t matter.

        The administrative mechanism to unscrew that pooch is the Florida State Board of Education.

        The State Board of Education is composed of seven members, including the Commissioner of Education. The other six members of the board are appointed by the Governor with the consent of the State Senate for four-year terms. The purpose of the board is to set policies and regulations for the state’s public school system. The Board administers the capital outlay fund, adopts educational objectives for public education, adopts long-range plans and short-range programs for the development of the education system, exercises general supervision over the divisions of the Department of Education, appoints the commissioner of education, adopts minimum and uniform standards of learning and performs other duties as stated in the Florida Statutes.”

    1073 in reply to PrincetonAl. | May 19, 2022 at 3:39 pm

    The remedy is for the INDIVIDUALS to be held personally financially liable. Him getting a check off the State still won’t make him whole and the individuals will just gore the next person.

    Bearing false witness used to be as bad as murder.

    Now we punish the misuse of a made up pronoun worse.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to PrincetonAl. | May 19, 2022 at 5:34 pm

    “SJWs always lie and never quit.”

    Only because they have not received adequate punishment so far. Ringleaders should be totally destroyed. There needs to be examples.

    Opiner in reply to PrincetonAl. | May 20, 2022 at 1:32 am

    The formal statement released by Chad Binette was rather stupid! He might as well said, “the money we will have to pay him won’t come out of our pockets, so, let’s just make it impossible for him to actually teach here, or anywhere else…while we are at it!”

    I hope he can sue the idiots making that decision personally! They need to make a very LARGE TAX FREE PERSONAL CONTRIBUTION (not taxable if a judgment is awarded to compensate for damages) to the Doctor’s retirement fund.

    E. Zach Lee-Wright in reply to PrincetonAl. | May 24, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    This was an arbitration, not a court case. I was an arbitrator for over a decade. Most agreements limit an appeal to findings of a hidden relationship between the arbitrator and one party. UCF has almost zero chance of finding a path to appeal. The well written decision also helps.

This can’t be good news for Princeton, which is trying to fire that tenured Katz guy for much the same reason. Odds are Katz is already lawyering up to file a wrongful termination suit, which he will almosr certainly win.

https://directorblue.blogspot.com/2022/05/top-20-tweets-tonight-051822-what-i.html
Watch very last video, the one you have to agree to watch and then see if your opinion isn’t same as Charles.
We have a two tier justice system

Imagine the uproar if a leftist professor got fired after the university issued a long string of:
Everything’s fine
Everything’s fine
You’re doing great, and here’s some money to keep you here
Everything’s just great
Everything’s fine
You’re fired because of a long history of horrible behavior.

    Barry in reply to georgfelis. | May 19, 2022 at 12:09 am

    “Imagine the uproar if a leftist professor got fired…”

    I’m having trouble imagining that…

      henrybowman in reply to Barry. | May 19, 2022 at 5:58 pm

      Well, there was that guy who loved swinging his bike lock.

      Opiner in reply to Barry. | May 20, 2022 at 1:45 am

      I’m with you! What evil, filthy, rotten thing could a leftist possibly do or say that would lead to “its” firing??

      Oh, wait, I’ve got it: “aren’t you a cute young girl…wanna share a doobie after class?”

      No, not for the weed. Not for the “come-on”….yep, for the unforgivable sin of referring to a student as a GIRL!! What could he have possibly been thinking? What gives Mr. Patriarchal the right to assume such a thing?? Fire the SOB…oops, I mean fire the Racist Prick, this isn’t the 90’s.

harleycowboy | May 19, 2022 at 7:30 am

They’ll dig around to find something to fire him for.

I would guess that Princeton University and Prof. Joshua Katz are watching this.

Is there a FL board of governors who now have what they need to step up and relieve the university president of his position for his malfeasance?

I wouldn’t say that it looks like they’ve given up. . . . [A]nd we do not tolerate discrimination against any member of our campus community . . . are classic weasel words. They’ll just declare anything disturbing strict orthodoxy to be “discrimination”.

Many thanks to LI for pursuing and documenting this entire incident!

The professor’s problems not likely to be over. The arbitrator found only a just cause violation., not a free speech one. The university can still demand he follow its “diversity” policies and conform his teaching and comments to the politically correct lines or face new termination.

    henrybowman in reply to Cicero. | May 19, 2022 at 6:00 pm

    Given the political climate in Florida at the moment, that would be a momentously stupid strategy. You may as well hang KICK ME on your back and TEST CASE on your chest.

    stevelandess in reply to Cicero. | May 25, 2022 at 1:34 pm

    Interesting comment. you think that DEI trumps the Bill of Rights?
    Go back to Cuba…

It isn’t over. UCF now has their road map for the future. He will face disparate scrutiny of his teaching as UCF solicits students for any comments to “incriminate” Dr. Negy. Student agitators will enroll in his classes just to be able to burn him on student evaluations.They will be soliciting students for feedback on the prof. Until they find something for that they can use to fire him, he will face the damnation of faint praise and disparagement of his academic relevance to the UCF community.

More correctly: political congruence (“=”), specifically people… persons of feminine female leverage, followed by black leverage, followed by trans/homo leverage, and NOW trans/neo leverage.

civisamericanus | May 19, 2022 at 2:01 pm

“Black privilege is real: Besides affirm. action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege. But as a group, they’re missing out on much needed feedback.”

There is indeed plenty of Black privilege, namely the privilege to behave in ways that would get a Caucasian shunned, ostracized, fired, and so on. Democrats flock to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network like flies to fresh garbage despite his long record of hate speech against Caucasians (aka “white interlopers”), Jews (aka “diamond merchants”), Asians (“Chinamen” to Sharpton), LGBT people (aka “punk f****ts” and “Greek homos” in Sharptonese), police officers (“pigs”) and even Black people Sharpton doesn’t like (the N word). Noting Sharpton’s role in getting Don Imus fired for calling some Black women “nappy headed hos,” which he should not have done, the fact that Black rap artists use this language routinely does not make it OK for anybody to use it, I am not sure why Sharpton is still employed by MSNBC unless it’s due to Black privilege.

Ayanna Pressley says she doesn’t want Black faces in Congress who don’t speak with Black voices, Her counterparts from 60 or so years ago who didn’t want white faces in Congress that didn’t speak with white voices had sheets and hoods, and stood in the schoolhouse door to keep Black children out. There was in fact a Congressional “white caucus” with exactly this agenda.

Some Black rap artists’ lyrics consist almost entirely of the N word, the F word, and “ho,” the latter with regard to Black women. The language is racist and misogynistic but it is tolerated widely, as opposed to similar trash from white supremacist music groups that is not accepted by our society (nor should it be). Some of these artists were invited to the White House during the Obama administration. Another rap artist (not among those invited to the White House, though) has a song about killing police officers, and yet another about burning Korean-owned stores.

    Dolce Far Niente in reply to civisamericanus. | May 19, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    Firstly, WHAT “white supremacist” music groups?! This is whataboutism, and not based on facts.

    I don’t care whether blacks call each other vile names and I will support their right to do so. I care only that they are deprived of the “right” to censor MY language, or yours.

      henrybowman in reply to Dolce Far Niente. | May 19, 2022 at 6:16 pm

      “Firstly, WHAT “white supremacist” music groups?!”
      If you want a list, do a web search for the song “White Countries For Everyone” and make one.

      (Curiously, none of the versions of this song I have found sound like any other versions of the song, except for the main lyrics. And I’ve found versions in every genre from easy-listening ballad to punk and death metal.)

Reads like the professor was grievously wronged by people who should have known better. That having been said, how were the miscreants punished, if such unusual action were actually taken?

the mob ‘students’ should be expelled

Articles and comments like these are why I am an avid reader (and donor) of LI. Keep it up Professor. You are a candle in the dark. The only problem is that I cannot yet see the dawn.

The finding is especially interesting because Prof. Negy relied upon the union, he was represented by the union, and the arbitrator was appointed by the union. One might have thought the union representatives would bend over backward to avoid disagreeing with their militants. Perhaps this is a sign that—at least where tenured members are concerned—the academics’ union may be beginning to push back against the more egregious forms of cancel culture? One may hope, anyway.

Voice_of_Reason | May 22, 2022 at 2:02 pm

The tide is turning. Civilization is starting to push back.

Now that the Asians and Hispanics are turning Republican, it won’t be long till the Democrats drop the ‘Black” agenda. No different than when they decided they didn’t need the white working class. That’s when it gets really interesting.

“UCF stands by the actions taken following a thorough investigation that found repeated misconduct in Professor Negy’s classroom, including imposing his views about religion, sex and race. However, we are obligated to follow the arbitrator’s ruling.”

UCF would be in a challenging position appealing the abitration considering UCF is perfectly fine with imposing progressive views about religion, sex, and race. Hypocrisy makes for a difficult legal argument, I imagine.

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