‘Tolerance is a two-way street…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) The University of North Texas fired a mathematics professor after he joked about a flyer, which was anonymously placed in the faculty lounge, that called attention to “microaggressions,” the Alliance Defending Freedom reported.
ADF filed a federal lawsuit on April 16 that alleges the university violated Dr. Nathaniel Hier’s First Amendment rights.
Dr. Ralf Schmidt, who chairs UNT’s mathematics department, fired Hiers for mocking the microaggressions flyer and then failing to show “honest regret” for doing so.
Identity-politics leftists use the term microaggression to label what they perceive as indirect, subtle and even unintentional racism, sexism or any other “ism” that offends somebody.
“The right to free speech is for everyone—not just those in power. Tolerance is a two-way street,” said ADF Legal Counsel Michael Ross.
“Public universities can’t fire professors just because they don’t endorse every message someone communicates in the faculty lounge,” Ross continued. “By firing Dr. Hiers, the university sent an explicit message: ‘Agree with us or else.’”
Hiers earned his doctorate in mathematics in the spring of 2019. He started teaching at UNT in the fall of 2019.
Hiers said the flyers were left in the mathematics department’s faculty lounge, where professors chat, discuss ideas and banter with one another.
When someone anonymously dropped off the flyers, he drew an arrow on the chalkboard that pointed to the stack with the statement, “Don’t leave garbage lying around.”
Schmidt did not have a sense of humor about it. He called Hiers’ actions “stupid” and “cowardly.”
Hiers said he has the freedom to comment on flyers if someone else has the freedom to anonymously put them in the lounge.
The week after the incident, Schmidt fired Hiers without warning.
Schmidt said the flyers were not “political” and made “very much sense.”
There is no scientific evidence that demonstrates the existence of microaggressions.
“In so doing, Defendant Schmidt was expressing his own views on the topic of ‘microaggressions,’ disagreeing with Dr. Hiers’ views, and punishing Dr. Hiers for expressing his views,” ADF said.
“Schmidt used his opinion to ignore reasonable views opposing the ‘microaggression’ fliers and ultimately to punish Dr. Hiers for expressing his own opinion.”