Texas university pays $165K to professor fired for writing a joke in the teachers’ lounge criticizing microaggressions

Academic Freedom Alliance Press Release

Excerpt: In a victory for free speech on public university campuses, the University of North Texas has agreed to pay $165,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees for violating a math professor’s First Amendment rights when it fired him for writing a joke criticizing microaggressions on a chalkboard in the teachers’ lounge.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent Nathaniel Hiers in his lawsuit against the university. After discovering flyers in the mathematics department’s faculty lounge about “microaggressions,” Hiers jokingly wrote on the chalkboard, “Please don’t leave garbage lying around,” with an arrow pointing to the flyers. The following week, the head of the math department fired Hiers by cancelling his contract to teach in the spring, admitting that he fired Hiers because he criticized the flyers and didn’t express “honest regret” about his actions.