James Tracy, a tenured professor at Florida Atlantic University, was fired because he dared to express his contrarian views and lay out his research about the Sandy Hook shooting.
Tracy did so as a private citizen on his blog. He made that clear.
But the University didn’t care. They ripped away his tenure and job.
Now Tracy is suing. As he should. Because the issue is a little thing called the 1st Amendment.
I’ve read his court filing. It appears to me that Tracy’s own union took his side and then betrayed him. It appears to me that the University cooked up a fake reason for firing him: he didn’t send in a vaguely worded form they wanted him to sign.
American academics will soon realize that their jobs are in jeopardy, if they don’t know it already. Not only their jobs, but their right to think, say, and write what they wish – and to engage in the pursuit of truth, wherever it may lead them.
A battle of epic proportions is about to begin, over the firing of Dr. James Tracy, for alleged infractions against Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton. Tracy contends that his First Amendment right to free speech was abridged, along with his rights to due process and academic freedom.
Tracy was dismissed from his tenured position as Associate Professor of Multimedia Journalism at FAU on January 6, 2016. On April 25, he filed a civil rights suit against the university, including the President, Provost, and other top officials, as well as members of the Board of Trustees and representatives of the faculty union. His complaint calls for reinstatement with back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and a declaration that FAU’s controversial “Conflict of Interest/Outside Activities” policy is unconstitutional.
University’s Policies and Actions Threaten Faculty Due Process and Free Speech Throughout the United States
““Tenure, free speech, due process and academic freedom are under attack. Without judicial intervention, employees and faculty at Florida Atlantic University and other universities around the United States, will continue to be censored, deterred or chilled from sharing unpopular information or opinions for fear that they will be disciplined on a pretext.”-Attorney Louis Leo IV
April 25, 2016, West Palm Beach, Florida – Former Florida Atlantic University (“FAU”) Professor James Tracy, who was fired from his tenured faculty position in January, has filed a civil rights suit against the University, several top school officials, and his faculty union representatives, alleging that the firing violated his First Amendment right to free speech and other constitutional rights, including his right to due process, in addition to the University’s long-standing principles of academic freedom.
Dr. James Tracy, filed the lawsuit Monday in a U.S. federal court in the Southern District of Florida, in Palm Beach County, represented by the Florida Civil Rights Coalition and Medgebow Law.
Police Lack Documentation of Lenny and Veronique Pozners’ Charges Against James Tracy
On December 10, 2015 “Lenny and Veronique Pozner,” parents of Noah Pozner who allegedly perished in the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook School massacre event, penned an incendiary article published by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The article was subsequently posted by the Forward, the foremost organ of the American Jewish community, after which a steady media drumbeat ensued for Tracy’s termination from his tenured position.
In what amounts to a roadmap for FAU administrators on why and how Tracy should be fired (questioning the official narrative of the Sandy Hook, causing the Pozners “pain and anguish”) the Pozners claimed Tracy sent a “certified letter demanding proof that Noah once lived.” This affront supposedly prompted the outraged couple to file a police report.
“It cannot be denied,” the Pozners kvetched to the world,
that Tracy has carved out a significant presence in the same Sandy Hook “hoax” conspiracy movement that has inspired a wave of harassment, intimidation and criminal activity against our family and others.
In fact, Tracy is among those who have personally sought to cause our family pain and anguish by publicly demonizing our attempts to keep cherished photos of our slain son from falling into the hands of conspiracy theorists.
Tracy even sent us a certified letter demanding proof that Noah once lived, that we were his parents, and that we were the rightful owner of his photographic image. We found this so outrageous and unsettling that we filed a police report for harassment.
[Editor’s note: The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers are the highly politicized parent organizations (e.g. hereand here) of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF). The UFF is the same faculty union FAU Professor James Tracy belonged to at the time of his termination by FAU administrators on January 6, 2016. Tracy was of UFF-FAU chapter president in 2009-2011 when the FAU administration summarily fired five professors in the university’s College of Engineering (here and here). Perhaps coincidentally, the following essay was directly referenced in Lenny and Veronique Pozner’s inflammatory December 10 article published by the South Florida Sun-Sentinelthat appears to have prompted Tracy’s firing. Today few US faculty actually challenge the status quo, and thus one could make the argument (which NEA/AFT counter below) that tenure may have merely become the guarantee of a handsome sinecure that guarantees the institutional continuity of politically innocuous schools of thought and overall ideological conformity .-JFT]
You may well have heard about attacks on tenure and college faculty. After all, people write books and get quoted in the press grinding this ax. The argument is not hard to believe, either; we’ve all seen people in authority, private and public, who care more about protecting themselves than serving their customers. You may have memories of a teacher who didn’t seem to keep up with his or her subject or care very much about his or her students.
But there’s a big problem with the negative polemics about tenure: They are not true. This NEA-AFT Online brochure deals with some of the myths about tenure and responds with the facts. It tells the truth about tenure — a human institution with flaws — but a practice we can be proud of and need to maintain.
James Tracy responds to questions about his firing, and about press reports of events that have swirled around him.
“Why was he fired? I mean, why was he really fired? What did he do? What did he do to bring this down on himself? He must have done something wrong…Wait. Are you saying he was fired because he exercised his natural right to free speech? He spoke freely? That’s it? That’s all? No, I can’t believe that. He must have said something that I would disagree with—in which case, he should have been fired. I feel better. He said something I disagree with. He should be fired. What right does he have to say something that makes me feel uncomfortable? That crosses the line. I have a right not to feel uncomfortable. Isn’t that the most basic of all rights? Isn’t that written in the Constitution?” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)
Professor James Tracy paid a heavy price for free speech. He lost his job as a tenured Professor because he dared to question the official story of the Sandy Hook Elementary event. Now he could use your help, please consider donating to his legal defense fund.