Conservative professor wins promotion and 50k in discrimination case

A federal court has let the world of American academia know that it is not OK to deny a promotion to a professor just because he or she is a conservative. A door has been opened to a nightmare for progressive academics who believe that conservatives are beyond the pale and deserve to be shunned, much as racists a generation or two ago believed that blacks could not possibly merit inclusion in the upper ranks of society.

Valerie Richardson of The Washington Times reports:

A federal court Wednesday ordered the University of North Carolina-Wilmington to promote and give $50,000 in back pay to a conservative professor in what is described as a landmark anti-discrimination case.

The restitution was ordered three weeks after a jury found the university guilty of retaliating against criminology professor Mike Adams, a popular conservative columnist on, after denying him a promotion to full professor in 2006.

“This ruling sends a message to public universities: Academic freedom isn’t just for the Left, it’s a constitutional right for all professors — even Christian conservatives,” said David French, senior counsel at the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, which represented Mr. Adams.

This will be a hard lesson, and it will require more cases being adjudicated before habits of mind change. Many academics are convinced that conservatives are by definition stupid, as well as immoral. Tony Perkins provides some background on the case.

Eight years ago, the university’s sociology department turned down Adams’s application for promotion, despite a folio of awards, student recommendations, 125 speaking appearances, and 11 published peer-review articles. It was the first time, his attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom pointed out, that a professor with that many peer-reviewed pieces had ever been denied promotion at the Department level.

Unfortunately, Dr. Adams fell victim to UNCW’s radical political agenda after converting from atheism to Christianity in 2000. Since then, the administration’s open hostility to Adams’s work in conservative circles was impossible to ignore. Thank goodness Professor Adams had the last word. “The jury last month found that disagreeing with an accomplished professor’s religious and political views is no grounds for denying him a promotion,” said ADF’s Travis Barham. “To our knowledge, this is the first court to rule that a university unlawfully retaliated against a conservative professor for his views, award him back pay, and order the university to promote him to the position he was wrongfully denied.”

While I celebrate the decision, it is too bad that punitive damages were not assessed, only back pay. This sort of discrimination is so well-established that you have to get the attention of academics with eye-popping damages.

If you experience technical problems, please write to