Academic freedom has been officially “cancelled” at the University of Central Florida after a tenured professor of psychology was ignominiously fired in February 2020 after making tweets questioning the existence of “systemic racism” and mocking the concept of “white privilege.”
That professor, Charles Negy, tweeted: “Black privilege is real: Besides affirm. action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege.”
He also tweeted: “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?”
Not only were Negy’s tweets not racist, they raise legitimate and concerning facts regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and its push to condemn America and its institutions as steeped in “systemic racism” and to denounce white Americans for their “white privilege” and promotion of “white supremacy.” Negy’s point about “black privilege” is supported by the recent spate of white academics passing as African-American or Hispanic in order to promote their academic careers. Asian Americans meanwhile face actual racial discrimination in admissions at top universities including Harvard.
Negy’s legitimate commentary on the current state of race relations in America so incensed and infuriated UCF students and faculty that they sparked a Change.org petition signed by 30,000 individuals calling for his firing as well as a full-out witch-hunt to dig up dirt on the professor by any means necessary.
Because academic freedom still exists—on paper, at least—UCF could not officially fire Negy for his comments on twitter. Instead, the university launched a 7-month investigation and compiled a 244-page report which alleges that Negy “failed to report and appropriately respond to a student’s disclosure of having been sexually assaulted by one of his teaching assistants,” and that he tried to stop “students from filing complaints related to his classroom conduct.” It also claims that he “mocked students, repeatedly used profanity, and made inappropriate comments related to sexual assault during class such as telling students that there were many false rape accusations that plagued college campuses.”
Negy called the report and subsequent firing a “complete assault on free speech, the free exchange of ideas, and the principle of tenure,” stating that “UCF terminated me based on their bogus, 244-page investigative report that lists highly dubious charges that none, alone, would warrant termination, but they believe together justifies de-tenuring me and firing me.”
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization which defends the First Amendment on campus, also came to Negy’s defense.
“Nobody interviews 300 people over seven months about incidents covering 15 years unless they’re desperate to find something, anything, to use against their target,” stated FIRE’s Adam Goldstein. “…UCF implemented a process calculated to find reasons to fire an employee who had offended people with this speech.” Negy is currently planning to sue UCF for defamation and for retaliation against his constitutionally protected speech.
For its unconstitutional and ideological decision to fire a professor who exposed the blatant hypocrisy and racism fueling critical race theory, the University of Central Florida belongs on the list of America’s most racist universities.
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