by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Mike Adams sued the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, where he is an associate professor of sociology and criminology, for discriminating against his political (conservative) and religious (Christian) beliefs when it denied him promotion in 2006. A federal judge in 2010 held that Adams was not entitled to freedom of speech in his capacity as a public employee. Late last month, a federal appeals court overturned that decision, arguing that “many forms of public speech or service a professor engaged in during his employment” were protected under the First Amendment. The court found that Adams’s political commentary at Townhall.com and elsewhere was a “substantial or motivating factor” in the vote against his application for a full professorship. UNCW has said it will appeal. Advocates of academic freedom have cause for celebration but not complacency.