Court Orders University to Promote Professor After Being Discriminated Against for Christian Views

AdamsGREENVILLE, N.C. — A federal court has ordered the University of North Carolina-Wilmington to promote a Christian professor and reimburse him for back pay after a jury found that the university wrongfully denied him a promotion because of his Christian beliefs.

As previously reported, Mike Adams works as a professor of criminology in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Adams, a former atheist, was hired in 1993, and became an associate professor in 1998.

In 2000, Adams became a born-again Christian, and his worldview began to change. He became a columnist for TownHall.com and also appeared on radio and television broadcasts, where he spoke about a broad spectrum of issues, from religion to morality to freedom of speech.

However, Adams’ conversion to Christianity and his outspokenness on current events soon resulted in “tension” on campus as some disagreed with his views and manner of presentation. In 2006, when he was up for consideration of a promotion to full professor status, Adams was denied.

According to reports, “Dr. Diane Levy, known as an outspoken feminist with leftist political leanings, raised concerns about Adams’ ‘political activity’ and reprimanded him for his weekly nationally syndicated column.”

Dr. Kimberly J. Cook, an atheist, soon also became the chair of the department in which Adams served, and likewise expressed opposition to Adams. Reports state that she “described to a recruitment committee her ideal candidate for a teaching position as ‘a lesbian with spiked hair and a dog collar.’” Cook and others are alleged to be directly involved in the denial of Adams promotion.

Therefore, in 2007, Adams filed suit, contending that university officials discriminated against him because of his Christian beliefs. In 2010, the District Court ruled against Adams, who then appealed his case to the 4th Circuit. In April of the following year, the court ruled that Adams provided sufficient evidence to warrant a trial, which was held last month.

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At the conclusion of the trial, the jury agreed with attorneys for Adams, concluding that he was unjustly denied a promotion because of the views he expressed in print and broadcast media, which were protected by the First Amendment.

“They concluded that the University of North Carolina-Wilmington retaliated against Dr Adams by denying him a promotion in 2006 and they retaliated against him because they did not like the views he expressed in his books and columns and speeches,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Travis Barham explained to reporters following the verdict. “Basically, they didn’t like what he said in his own time.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Southern Division, ordered the university to promote Adams to full professor status and pay him $50,000 in back pay.

“The court hereby orders the defendants confer upon plaintiff full professorship as of the date of this order, with pay and benefits in the future to relate back to August 2007, when plaintiff’s 2006 promotion application would have gone into effect had it been successful,” it wrote.

“This is a great day not only for Dr. Adams but for all who value academic freedom,” said ADF attorney Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “The court’s order reminds universities that they cannot retaliate against those who simply express opinions that some officials do not like.”


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  • http://bibleprophesy.org Jason Hommel

    I fought a similar battle and lost. I was fired for not having a Social Security Number, and I sued for religious discrimination. Squaw Valley Ski Resort directly asked me if I was Amish. I said no. So they fired me. Weird. Religious Discrimination is illegal, based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

    While is may seem nice to see a fellow Christian vindicated, I don’t like the way that he was vindicated. A judge saying that views the University does not like have to be accepted and taught? That’s a heartbeat away from Universities being forced to hire Muslims who advocate terrorism, too.

    There are many other ways to get vindication. Start your own Christian University. Start a Church. Make disciples.

    • Sue

      There was no indication his views were being taught in the classroom. He expressed his personal beliefs and views OUTSIDE of the classroom. They punished him for this by not promoting him when the opportunity arose. This was evidenced by the department chair’s ideal candidate being described as a “lesbian with spikey hair and a dog collar” (her words). I agree with your point of view, but it does not apply in this situation. This is more like saying the server in the restaurant is unqualified to serve steak because he or she is a vegetarian.

  • WorldGoneCrazy

    A Christian being treated fairly in a liberal university?!? Nice!

  • Sandy

    For years I’ve been plugging away at school with an end goal of teaching at the university level. I am an older student, having returned after I raised my kids. I had no idea I’d be entering such a den of vipers. American secular academia is not void of Christians–but for the most part they lay low. I see why because I have been treated with hostility for my views as a student (by professors!) which inevitably come out during discussion of many subjects. (I’m an English lit major). It can be frightening. BUT we are told to “Go into ALL the world…” . We cannot shy away from academia and precedent-setting moments like this because we fear it might open the door to other religious beliefs like “Muslims teaching terrorism” as the commentor above suggested…my friends, errant teaching of many perversions is already pervasive and entrenched in American academia…and we should fear those who can kill the soul, not the body!