Christian Prof. Wins Lawsuit Against NC University Over Free Speech Rights

A North Carolina jury has decided in favor of a conservative professor of criminology who claimed that his academic institution denied him a promotion for ideological reasons.

The jury ruled Thursday in favor of Mike Adams, who back in 2006 was denied a promotion to a full professorship by the University of North Carolina – Wilmington.

Adams was represented by David French of the American Center for Law and Justice and Travis Barham of The Alliance Defending Freedom.

French, a senior counsel at ACLJ, told The Christian Post that he and his colleagues were "extremely gratified by the jury's decision."

"We're extremely gratified by the jury's decision and pleased that they saw the truth of this case – that university officials retaliated against Adams' conservative and Christian viewpoints when it denied him a promotion to full professor at UNCW," said French.

"Next, the judge will now determine the relief in the case, and we expect that decision soon."

French also told CP that the case will "absolutely" have an influence on similar campus free speech lawsuits in the future.

"Previously, universities had discriminated against conservative and Christian speech with relative impunity," said French.

"We hope this jury verdict will send a message that universities will be held accountable for maintaining and protecting the marketplace of ideas."

A professor of criminology at UNCW, in 2006 Adams was denied a promotion by the leadership of the academic institution.

Adams, an outspoken conservative and member of the National Rifle Association, sued the university in 2007, arguing that he was denied the promotion because of his views.

Tara Romanella, spokeswoman for the university, told CP that they were not doing interviews, but nevertheless provided a statement wherein UNCW expressed a plan to appeal.

"The university respectfully disagrees with the jury's verdict and will fully explore its options for appeal with the North Carolina Attorney General's office," stated UNCW.

"UNCW strongly believes that its faculty properly applied their academic judgment in determining that Adams' application did not merit promotion to full professor in 2006 and firmly denies that Adams' political or religious viewpoints played any role whatsoever in the decision."

The university also stated that the court had summarily dismissed two of the three claims originally brought by Adams, arguing that "there was absolutely no evidence of religious discrimination, nor a basis for equal protection claims."

"The university was, is and will continue to be committed to the proposition that faculty are to be evaluated on their merit, regardless of their respective political or religious views or commentary," stated UNCW.