On September 19, I wrote about UNC-Wilmington’s decision to deny professor (and columnist) Mike Adams’ application for promotion to full professor. When Mike received tenure, he was a secular, liberal professor — with an absolutely unblemished record of professional achievement and an unbroken path to promotion. After he became Christian and conservative, the university and department officials investigated his private e-mails, conducted a lengthy (and ludicrous) felony investigation against him, warned him against attending department meetings, changed promotion standards, applied different standards for different individuals, and — ultimately — denied him a promotion.
As of today, Mike Adams is now a plaintiff in a federal retaliation and religious discrimination case filed in federal court. The Alliance Defense Fund is representing Mike (full disclosure: I am lead counsel in the case), and to understand Mike’s claims, I urge you to follow the link and read the entire complaint. The essence of any discrimination or retaliation claim is that a person suffers adverse job action as a result of either their protected expression or their membership in a protected class. Mike’s complaint is one long tale of (sometimes bizarre) adverse employment actions.
The left is constantly complaining that conservatives seek “affirmative action” for right-leaning professors. Yet this is false. I have never met a single prominent conservative activist who sought goals, quotas, timetables or any other form of coercive governmental intervention into the hiring, tenure, and promotion process. Instead, we merely seek an end to (often unlawful) discrimination. If there is a level playing field, over time conservative scholars will filter back into the academy, and the ideological monopoly will be broken. But for this idea to be viable, we must battle against double standards, retaliation, and violations of basic civil rights. Starting today, Mike is fighting that battle in North Carolina.