Religious Discrimination Lawsuit to Proceed
Special Report - April 11, 2008
A conservative professor’s discrimination lawsuit against the University of North Carolina at Wilmington will continue, after a federal judge last week denied most of the university’s motion to dismiss the case. The case involves a lawsuit filed against UNC-Wilmington in April 2007 by the Alliance Defense Fund’s (ADF) Center for Academic Freedom on behalf of Mike Adams, an associate professor at the university. The lawsuit contends that Professor Adams was “denied promotion and faced harassment by his superiors because of his religious beliefs and conservative political viewpoint.” In addition to teaching in the criminology department at UNC-Wilmington since 1993, Professor Adams, a former atheist, is a nationally syndicated conservative columnist and the author of the book, Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel: Confessions of a Conservative College Professor. According to ADF, “Adams frequently received accolades from his colleagues after the university hired him as an assistant professor in 1993 and promoted him to associate professor in 1998 when he was an atheist. However, interrogations, accusations, and refusals for promotion followed his conversion to Christianity in 2000, even though the quality of his work and conduct at the university never wavered.”
In a decision issued March 31, U.S. District Judge Malcom J. Howard denied most of UNC-Wilmington’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, writing that: “Government may not pick and choose the viewpoints it will support. Plaintiff has alleged that defendants intentionally disfavored his application for promotion and reprimanded him for his views while others with views different than his were not similarly treated. These allegations state a claim under established Equal Protection principles. Therefore, defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity.”
ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Ayden stated, “Christian professors should not be discriminated against because of their beliefs. An institution of higher learning is supposed to be a marketplace of ideas, so it should cherish differing religious and political beliefs as the Constitution requires, rather than use them as a litmus test for promotions.” The case is Adams vs. Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
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