WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A federal judge has ordered UNCW to promote an associate professor and give him $50,000 in back pay.
It took seven years for Adams to win his battle with UNCW.
“People often say every man has his day in court, but after this experience I am more inclined to say every man has his decade in court,” said Adams.
It started in 2006 when the associate professor of criminology wanted to make a move up to full professor.
“If you never obtain the rank of full professor, that can be harmful to the career path,” he said.
But the University put a roadblock in that path by denying him the promotion.
“There is a prestige associated with that and obviously a pay raise,” said Adams.
In 2007 he took UNCW to court while continuing to teach at the school.
“I believe the University took a dangerous position on free speech,” he said. “I don’t think that it’s a battle we should have to have fought.”
But it is a battle Adams is winning after a judge ruled in his favor and denied UNCW’s motion for a new trial.
“If a professor writes a column and then goes out there and gives a speech and somehow mentions it in a promotion application, which they do routinely; that’s a normal thing professors do. The University can’t then say we are not going to allow you to obtain the rank of full professor,” said Adams.
Chancellor Gary L. Miller sent an email to facility and staff in response to the judge’s ruling which reads:
I am writing to you today to address the outcome of the Adams v. UNCW case and to reiterate some key points that were, and remain, in the spotlight.
I’m sure most of you are aware of the verdict handed down by a federal court in Greenville, in which a jury supported one of Dr. Mike Adams’s three original claims against the university, that of speech retaliation. Previously, the district court granted summary dismissal of two of Dr. Adams’s original claims finding that there was no evidence of religious discrimination nor a basis for an equal protection violation. These two summary dismissals were upheld on appeal. While the Office of the Attorney General consults with us regarding our own options for appeal, I felt it necessary to clarify some critical issues involved here.
This university is committed to a number of fundamental values, among them academic freedom; freedom of speech; and the essential nature of peer review, based on merit, within the faculty evaluation process. We have steadfastly supported and will continue to support the right of Dr. Adams and all faculty to express those beliefs openly and without fear of retaliation. This case has sparked passionate debate both within and outside the university, and rightfully so. In the broader sense, UNCW, and universities in general, have an obligation to both initiate and nurture civil discourse around important issues. Thus, I am eager to foster conversations on our campus about the issues involved with this case and how we will move forward as a university.
UNCW’s reputation and success are built around our people, programs, and academic endeavors and exploration. I am confident that we as a community will proceed with great pride in our accomplishments, respect for one another’s beliefs, and a continued commitment to our students’ educational experience. Thank you for joining me in that journey.
Adams says lawyers will now debate who will pay attorney fees.