A University of Central Florida professor who was fired from his job following posts he wrote on Twitter has been reinstated with back pay because of a ruling by an arbitrator.
UCF associate professor of psychology Charles Negy was fired from his position at the university. His termination followed "furor" surrounding ideas that he shared on his personal Twitter account.
Negy commented on a video clip of Dave Rubin interviewing Larry Elder – who ripped the dogma of systemic racism.
Negy tweeted in June 2020, "Sincere question: If Afr. Americans as a group, had the same behavioral profile as Asian Americans (on average, performing the best academically, having the highest income, committing the lowest crime, etc.), would we still be proclaiming 'systematic racism' exists?"
The professor posted another tweet – which has since been deleted – that read, "Black privilege is real: Besides affirm. action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege."
The professor then reportedly received blowback from his students and fellow university faculty for his personal opinions.
There were organized protests, a Change.org petition with nearly 35,000 signatures demanding the university fire Negy, and the Twitter hashtag #UFCFireHim.
In January 2021, Negy was fired from the University of Central Florida. The university also claimed that his termination had nothing to do with his tweets but rather because of student complaints that he allegedly created a hostile learning environment. The school claimed that Negy was partly fired because of an alleged instance in February 2014 when he reportedly "failed to report that a student disclosed that she had been sexually assaulted by one of your teaching assistants."
However, an arbitrator reversed the school's decision and ordered UCF to give Negy his old job back and pay him the salary that he missed after being fired.
“At some point in 2020 a furor erupts over tweets from his twitter account, activity not related to his duties and also is protected free speech,” arbitrator Ben Falcigno wrote in his Arbitration Award opinion on May 16. “There ensues a campaign by UCF to find out more about Dr. Negy’s classroom performance as related by his students. UCF reaches out to previous students, gets a number of responses and determines that serious misconduct has been occurring for years, lamenting that no system for detecting such misconduct existed to alert management to such disrepute. And, the misconduct is of such magnitude that the only course of action is immediate termination.”
Negy told WOFL, "I want to go back. I want to make a stand for free speech, academic freedom. They fired a tenured professor… me. They cut me off from my income right away which they cannot do, unless there is some justified reason."
"The purpose of a university is not to make people feel comfortable," he added. "This is not a church. This is not a social gathering. The purpose of a university is to make you uncomfortable and make you to think about things."
Negy told Legal Insurrection, "The fact that a university would pursue a pretextual investigation with a foregone conclusion to fire a tenured professor because the professor does not conform to 'diversity/equity/inclusion' (DEI) ideology is — pretty disgusting in my opinion. University of Central Florida (UCF) investigated my entire 22-year career with them in search of something–anything–that they believed they could use to justify their firing of me."
Negy told the outlet that he expects to file a lawsuit against UCF in the near future.
"UCF Administrators (and all university administrators) need to get the message that they cannot simply 'purge' or even discipline professors who do not conform to the DEI ideology that they are imposing on entire university campuses," he added.
Negy said he plans on teaching again in the fall.
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