California Professors Threatened With Firing For Questioning How Social Justice Peers Spent Taxpayer Funding

You can probably find more needles in haystacks than conservative professors on U.S. college campuses.

But there are two in California who claim they are being persecuted by their school for criticizing some of their peers who, they allege, are practicing left-wing social justice activism on the taxpayers’ dime.

According to The College Fix, Bakersfield College history professors Matthew Garrett and Erin Miller claim the Kern Community College District began investigating them after they called for a probe of the tax money received by a pair of Social Justice Warriors on the faculty.

The issue began in 2019, The College Fix reports when Garrett gave a public lecture entitled “A Tale of Two Protests: Free Speech and the Intellectual Origins of Campus Censorship.” The aim was to discuss campus censorship under the domain of cultural Marxism and social justice ideology. Miller opened the lecture with introductory comments.

Garrett asserted that the school’s foundation had received a $20,000 grant, which was used to pay two other professors directly for “social justice” and to fund a publication that supported their goals. Miller had even filed public records requests with the district to see how the grant was spent.

I think [professor Oliver Rosales] gets more reassigned time, money stipend, than anyone on campus, pretty much, to do social justice activism,” Garrett said during his talk.

“Partisan politics paid for by taxpayer dollars is not okay.”

The two professors he mentioned filed HR complaints. That prompted an investigation – into Garrett and Miller. The claim was to determine if their conduct was unprofessional. And the district’s general counsel eventually determined, in an administrative finding, that they had indeed acted unprofessionally and violated policies. 

They were told they could be punished, including by being fired.

Now, Garrett and Miller have sued the college district, claiming the probe and threats violate their First Amendment rights.

Garrett and Miller’s lawyer, Arthur Willner, told The Fix that the lawsuit would “really speak to the larger issue of how the First Amendment is viewed on campuses these days.”

He called Garrett’s remarks “core protected speech” under the First Amendment.

“Hopefully, that’s the ruling that we’re going to get, and that can only serve to further free speech rights on campuses across the country,” he added.

Conservatives can only hope the court sees it that way.

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