I wrote last month about the American Center for Law and Justice’s case on behalf of Dr. Martin Gaskell, a highly respected astronomer. The University of Kentucky denied Dr. Gaskell’s job application apparently because they viewed him as “potentially evangelical” (that’s an actual quote from UK’s internal documents). After a federal court denied UK’s attempt to dismiss the case, the university has now settled, agreeing to pay Professor Gaskell $125,000.
Coming on the heels of June Sheldon’s $100,000 settlement after San Jose Community College fired her for providing a (literally) textbook answer to questions about the origin of homosexual desire, it’s becoming clear that religious discrimination in academia is growing increasingly costly (and those figures don’t include the considerable sums the universities paid to outside counsel to defend their illegal conduct).
Additionally, next Wednesday, I’ll be in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals arguing Prof. Mike Adams’s case against UNC-Wilmington. Dr. Adams was denied promotion through a process that was rife with vitriolic internal commentary regarding his beliefs and speech. Unfortunately, the district court dismissed his claims, asserting that Professor Adams’s personal writings as a columnist for Townhall were not constitutionally protected. FIRE, the AAUP, and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression filed an amicus brief in support of Dr. Adams and in support of the commonsense notion that professors’ writings enjoy First Amendment protection.
For a very long time, “observant Christians” have been profoundly disadvantaged in their quest for academic employment, but cases like Martin Gaskell’s give us hope the tide can turn. Well done, Dr. Gaskell and the ACLJ.