The Floridian Inquisition
written by Samantha Harris
Samantha K. Harris, a campus disciplinary attorney, is representing Professor Negy in his investigation by UCF.
Published on August 13, 2020
I’m an attorney representing a professor at the University of Central Florida who is being subjected by the university to what can only be called an inquisition after expressing opinions on Twitter that led to widespread calls for his firing. UCF is a public institution—an instrument of the state—and is now bringing its full power to bear against a man who dared to question the prevailing orthodoxy that has quickly descended over so many of this country’s institutions. I cannot bear witness to what the university is doing to this man without speaking out against it. If we do not challenge this egregious abuse of power, things will only get worse.
Professor Charles Negy is a wonderfully eccentric man, someone who teaches extraordinarily controversial subjects—Cross-Cultural Psychology and Sexual Behavior—with bluntness and humor. He is exactly the kind of professor you want in college: someone who is passionate about his subject, who will challenge your deeply-held assumptions, and who encourages free and open discussion in the classroom. Negy’s bluntness has occasionally ruffled feathers over the years, but throughout his 22-year career at UCF he has received consistently superior performance reviews. For the past four years, for example, he has received an evaluation rating of “Outstanding” for his instruction and advising.
In June, however, things changed overnight for Negy after he posted a characteristically blunt tweet to his personal Twitter account:
My tweet linked to my early June 2020 Taki Magazine column Bonfire of the Insanities mocking the looters and the elites encouraging them. I concluded:
What America needs to do is treat blacks as human beings with free will who when they make good choices should enjoy the benefits and when they make bad choices should experience the consequences. Instead, The Establishment views blacks as our Sacred Cows, above criticism, but beneath agency.
Quillette goes on:
Immediately, #UCFfirehim began trending on Twitter and people began to protest both on UCF’s campus and outside Negy’s home.
UCF president Alexander Cartwright understood, but was clearly disappointed, that the university could not fire Negy for his constitutionally protected tweets, telling the Orlando Sentinel: “The Constitution restricts our ability to fire him or any other University employee for expressing personal opinions about matters of public concern. This is the law.”
So Cartwright chose a different strategy: He publicly announced a witch hunt into Negy’s classroom speech. …
This investigation was obviously undertaken in retaliation for Negy’s protected tweets, and it is serving its purpose: How many professors are going to be willing to speak out if the result is a nine-hour inquisition followed by an almost inevitable punishment? How many professors will be willing to teach necessary but controversial material if they know they might be called upon, 15 years later, to defend every statement they made in the course of teaching that material?