RALEIGH, N.C. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom filed suit Monday on behalf of conservative pundit and professor Mike Adams, who was denied promotion and faced harassment by his superiors at UNC-Wilmington because of his religious beliefs and conservative political viewpoint.
“The university is supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, and university officials should not treat religious or conservative professors as second-class citizens on campus,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David French, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “But unfortunately, narrow-minded officials at UNCW have refused to promote Dr. Adams simply because they disagree with his religious and political beliefs.”
Adams, hired to teach at UNCW in 1993, and an associate professor since 1998, generated an impressive record of productive research resulting in 10 peer-reviewed publications, the number UNCW department chairs had stated as “safe” to merit promotion to full professor. Adams applied for full professorship in 2004, but the then-interim chair of the department, 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. Contrasting him with columnist William F. Buckley, Levy requested that Adams change his writing style so that it would be less “caustic” and more “cerebral.”
In 2005, Dr. Kimberly J. Cook became chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at UNCW. Cook, an outspoken atheist who openly criticized Christianity, described to a recruitment committee her ideal candidate for a teaching position as “a lesbian with spiked hair and a dog collar.” Adams completed his 11th peer-reviewed publication in 2006 and applied for promotion to full professorship. But during a closed-door meeting on Sept. 14, Cook and senior faculty members decided not to promote Adams.
“It is indefensible for a university to refuse promotion to a gifted and accomplished professor simply because they disagree with his religious and political views,” said French. “In an institution of higher learning, professors should be promoted based on the quality of their work, not discriminated against on the basis of their beliefs. Officials at UNCW should stand for justice and fairness. Instead, they have violated Dr. Adams’ constitutional rights.”
The ADF Center for Academic Freedom is defending religious freedom at America’s public universities. ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.