Tag Archives: free speech

Legalizing Pretext: How an American Public University Conspired to Beat the First Amendment

… and Got Away With It

By Louis Leo IV Esq.
People Over Politics
Florida Civil Rights Coalition

In 2016, former Florida Atlantic University (“FAU”) Professor James Tracy filed a civil rights lawsuit against FAU following the termination of his tenured employment. If one relies on mainstream press reports of his firing they may conclude the action was justified because of Tracy’s alleged “harassment” of Sandy Hook parents, and/or his failure to comply with the school’s “outside activities” policy.

James Tracy with attorneys Steven Blinkensderfer (left) and and Louis Leo IV (right). Image Credit: Palm Beach Post

Yet at its heart, Tracy’s case has grave implications for the First Amendment rights of virtually every US academic and government employee. Through their own repeated admissions FAU administrators justified Tracy’s termination by arguing that Tracy failed to “disclose” his constitutionally protected political speech for university approval under a vague and confusing school policy.

If this precedent stands unchallenged it will allow virtually any government agency to police employees’ extracurricular speech or political activities, and accordingly discipline workers whose views are deemed objectionable.

What do you know about the James Tracy case?

If you get your news and information from “mainstream” media outlets and their affiliates and partners in fake news around the globe, you probably know nothing about the case.

Or if anything, you might think you know some crazy teacher said nobody died at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and lost his job. So what?

Well, if you think Professor Tracy is crazy, or was out of line in his blog postings about Sandy Hook, Tracy is far from alone in casting doubt about the official story. In fact, 24% of Americans surveyed in 2016 acknowledged the massacre may have been faked to promote gun control—a number which will undoubtedly grow as more and more Americans discover the vastly censored body of research and documentaries like “We Need To Talk About Sandy Hook”.

Notwithstanding the truth about Sandy Hook, or other government conspiracies, what if I told you that Professor Tracy didn’t do anything wrong?

What if I told you that government officials at FAU broke their own rules, and the First Amendment when they disciplined Professor Tracy?

For those who don’t care about freedom of speech, you need read no further.

For those who understand and appreciate the fact that FAU, a major American public university, isn’t the NFL, and that its government officials aren’t allowed to conspire to beat the First Amendment and fire a government employee because of what they say as a private citizen about a matter of public concern, please keep reading.

Professor James Tracy, who has a Ph.D. in mass communications, was an award-winning, tenured communications professor at a government-run university. He was a good teacher who received outstanding and excellent annual evaluations from his supervisors while teaching at FAU for over a decade.

Don’t take my word for it. Read his FAU performance evaluations.

Continue reading Legalizing Pretext: How an American Public University Conspired to Beat the First Amendment

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Watch Your Words, Professor

The Case of Edward A. Ross

Editor’s Note: University professors in the United States today seldom engage in public speech that may even remotely threaten their employment. This is partly due to the fact that close to three-quarters of teaching faculty are non-tenured contract workers, and thus readily recognize their lack of tenure protections. Yet the many who have earned tenure regard it as more of a guaranteed sinecure than a guard against potential administrative retaliation for personal beliefs and/or public statements. 

In fact, the institution of tenure in American higher education is largely rooted in the controversy surrounding Stanford University’s dismissal of Professor Edward A. Ross in 1900 for his public speech. Ross was a highly-regarded economist, sociologist, and even an early mass media critic. Jane Stanford, widow of railroad magnate and university founder Leland Stanford, was disturbed by Professor Ross’ political views, evident in the popular faculty member’s enthusiastic public support of the Populist Party’s “free silver” platform of the 1890s, and his subsequent condemnation of “Chinese cheap labor.” Following these remarks Ms. Stanford successfully pressured university president David Starr Jordan to terminate Ross’ employment. 

The retaliatory firing of Ross became known as the “Ross case” and is historically recognized as a principal motivating factor in Professors John Dewey and Arthur O. Lovejoy’s founding of the American Association of University Professors that advocated for tenure across the US higher ed landscape.

As the following article from Stanford’s alumni publication (somewhat tepidly) chronicles,

At the time of her death in 1905, Mrs. Stanford was still associated with the Ross Affair. An obituary in the New York Times called it “the only serious cloud that ever lowered over Stanford University.”

By Brian Eule
Stanford
(January/February 2015)

In 1900, Jane Stanford forced out a respected faculty member. Was he a martyr to academic freedom or a racist gadfly who deserved what he got?

Department of Special Collections and University Archives (right); Image D-07548 Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

ON A TUESDAY AFTERNOON in November 1900, Edward Alsworth Ross gathered several student reporters in his campus office. Ross, 33 years old and a Stanford economics professor of seven years, had joined the university just two years after its opening. He was a captivating sight, 6-foot-5 and nattily dressed in a suit that favored his athletic physique.

Ross was popular with students and esteemed in his field. David Starr Jordan, the university’s first president, had recruited him not once but twice. Plucked from Jordan’s former home at Cornell, Ross was emerging as a scholarly star. Now, his time at Stanford was coming to an abrupt end.

Ross held a lengthy written statement he had prepared for the San Francisco newspapers. He handed it to the students.

“Well, boys,” he said, “I’m fired.”

ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN YEARS LATER, the reasons for Ross’s departure remain in dispute. The matter was precipitated by a series of public pronouncements Ross had made on political matters between 1896 and 1900, a practice that put him at odds with university co-founder Jane Stanford. Was he forced out because of his outspoken opinions or because he broke rules prohibiting partisan advocacy? What is not in dispute is that Mrs. Stanford insisted that Ross be sacked despite the vigorous objections of Jordan, who finally relented.

Ross’s dismissal drove a wedge between Stanford faculty and the administration and resulted in a spate of resignations by other professors. More broadly, it galvanized efforts to codify protection of academic freedom and indirectly led to the establishment of tenure. As it turned out, that hastily arranged press conference in Ross’s office was a seminal moment in the history of higher education.

LONG BEFORE HIS NAME became synonymous with academic freedom controversies, Edward Ross was an enigmatic figure. Born to a farmer and a schoolteacher in Illinois, and orphaned at age 10, he was taken in by neighbors on a nearby Iowa farm. His new family viewed him as a prodigy, praising him so extravagantly that some boys in the area thought him pampered.

More…

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The Death of Academic Freedom

Prof James Tracy Denied First Amendment Rights by Federal Court

By Vivian Lee*

Global Research
American Herald Tribune
JamesFetzer.Blogspot &
OffGuardian

On December 11, 2017, in a serious miscarriage of justice, a jury in West Palm Beach, Florida, ruled unanimously in favor of Florida Atlantic University and against former Media Studies Professor James Tracy, who was suing for reinstatement after his firing in 2016. The jury found that Tracy’s “controversial” articles on Memory Hole Blog were not a “motivating factor” in his firing, the only question they were required to consider. Of course, Tracy’s posts at “his conspiracy theory blog” were indeed the reason he was fired, but the jury was convinced otherwise by FAU’s legal team with assistance from the judge. The case centered around Tracy’s writings on the anomalies found in the reporting on the Sandy Hook “massacre” of December 14, 2012. His skepticism about the event was not to the liking of the university.

Palm Beach PostJames Tracy with his attorney Louis Leo IV arriving at federal court. Image: Palm Beach Post.

FAU maintained that Tracy was not fired from his tenured position because of his blog posts, but because he did not follow the “rules” set out by “his bosses” at the government-run institution. FAU attorney G. Joseph Curley insisted that Tracy was not denied his First Amendment rights, but that he simply did not follow university procedure. “Professor Tracy doesn’t follow the rules,” Curley told the jury. “They’re rules that everyone else follows. He doesn’t play by the rules.” FAU cast the case as one of a “belligerent,” rebellious,” and “nonconformist” employee being let go for “insubordination,” instead of that of a tenured professor exercising his right to free speech.[1]

Atty G Joseph Curley Palm Beach PostFAU attorney G. Joseph Curley: “I could not be happier for FAU.” Image: Palm Beach Post.

FAU’s current “rules” require that faculty submit forms listing “outside activities” to be vetted for administrative approval, whether the activities are compensated or not. Tracy and other professors at FAU had argued that the policy is vague and confusing, constituting a form of prior restraint forbidden by the First Amendment, and leading to a climate of “fear and uncertainty” among the faculty. Aside from the fact that “outside activities” can reach into all aspects of a professor’s life and therefore be difficult if not impossible to list, such activities must not be subject to bureaucratic approval. And certainly, no tenured professor can be fired for not filling out a form, even at Florida Atlantic University.[2]

Continue reading The Death of Academic Freedom

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Thought Crimes of a Tenured Academic

Defamatory Campaign Unleashed As Prof Increasingly Questioned 9/11, “War on Terror”

This is the first of a two-part edition of Real Politik featuring Canadian Professor Anthony Hall, Dr. Kevin Barrett, and Jeremy Rothe-Kushel. The discussion focuses on the targeting of Hall by organized pro-Israeli pressure groups and mass media that led  University of Lethbridge administrators to suspend him from his tenured academic post.

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Dr. Hall is an accomplished scholar of political economy and globalization studies whose work centers on the history of indigenous North Americans. A faculty member at Lethbridge since the early 1990s.He has taken  courageous public stances on geopolitical issues including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 9/11 and the US-led “war on terror.”

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B’NAI BRITH SMEAR CAMPAIGN AGAINST ANTHONY HALL REFLECTS WORSENING THREAT TO ACADEMIC FREEDOM

By Craig McKee
Truth and Shadows

anthony-hall
Hall on the campus of the University of Lethbridge shortly after learning of his suspension.

Over his long and impressive academic career, Professor Anthony Hall has helped us all better understand how crises can be manufactured to manipulate public perception of narratives that serve the interests of established power.

Now, he is the victim of one of those contrived crises.

In the latest of a growing list of glaring assaults on academic freedom, Hall has been suspended without pay from his tenured teaching position at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada where he has taught for 26 years. As the result of an obviously faked and planted Facebook post, he has become the focus of a smear campaign by the Jewish lobby group B’nai Brith Canada, which is accusing him of being an “anti-Semitic Holocaust denier.”

Continue reading B’NAI BRITH SMEAR CAMPAIGN AGAINST ANTHONY HALL REFLECTS WORSENING THREAT TO ACADEMIC FREEDOM

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When Blogging Makes You a Terrorist

James Tracy interviews Colorado-based filmmaker, educator and activist Danny Ledonne, a former media arts professor at Adams State University in ledonne-photo3Alamosa Colorado whose online exposés of his university’s managerial practices put him in the crosshairs of the school’s top administrators.

After the accomplished filmmaker was glossed over for a tenure-track position in the university’s communications department and subsequently terminated from his adjunct instructor position he made public records requests suggesting the school’s corrupt and non-transparent administrative practices. Ledonne began a blog to publish these, WatchingAdams.org, and encouraged other faculty to leak information that might prompt Adams State toward enacting reforms.

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Questioning an Official Story Is Not Hate Speech, It is Free Speech

False Flag Weekly News
No Lies Radio
October 7, 2016

Special Guest Today: Jeremy Rothe-Kushel

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The False Flag Weekly News anchored by Dr. Kevin Barrett and Prof. Tony Hall looks behind the headlines and main stream media stories to get at what’s really going on in the world. From violations of international law to initiating WWIII, you don’t want to miss what they and their guests have to say about the stories behind the stories. This weekly news show is broadcast live on YouTube and No Lies Radio every Friday morning 8am Pacific/11am Eastern.

Thousands watch the show every week and rely upon us to reveal the naked truth behind national and world events that the main stream media is covering up. We take a no holds bar investigative reporter attitude even in our coverage of controversial events such as 9/11, the Boston Bombing, Sandy Hook, the Ukraine, the Paris Charlie Hebdo event, ISIS, and the more recent Paris and San Bernadino attacks.

TODAY’S NEWS STORIES AND THEIR SOURCE LINKS

Continue reading Questioning an Official Story Is Not Hate Speech, It is Free Speech

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