Woke Joke Part 1: When the woke mob comes for you, stand up and fight back!

I am a political conservative who has no problem taking a stand and expressing my opinion, which is why I have, for years now, been targeted by the woke mob at NC State. As a result, I just filed a lawsuit against the university in federal district court, alleging that faculty and administrators violated my rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. I’ve hired a top-notch attorney, Samantha Harris, formerly of FIRE and now running her own law firm. She has represented Donna Hughes, Joshua Katz, Charles Negy, and many other faculty and students who were targeted for exercising their right to free speech.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging in detail about the events of the past few years, such as:

  • I was attacked by faculty colleagues in a supposedly confidential departmental Climate Study, because during a department meeting I questioned a proposed teaching evaluation item on diversity.
  • My former department head, Penny Pasque, wrote me an email describing an anonymous complaint in the Climate Study that I was a bully. Someone at the university secretly placed a copy of the email in my personnel file. Documents I obtained via a Public Records request suggest it was Pasque, with the explicit approval of the Provost’s office and the General Counsel’s office.
  • A faculty colleague, Alyssa Rockenbach, ran a faculty search that resulted in Terrell Strayhorn, a social justice scholar, as one of the finalists. He is widely regarded within the higher ed community as having defrauded Ohio State, slept with graduate students, and forced to resign his tenured full professorship due to his actions (you can read more about the faculty search here). Pasque wrote me up because I sent an email to a small group of faculty criticizing how Rockenbach ran the search.
  • Pasque repeatedly pressured me to resign from my degree program, the Higher Education program. She went so far as to ask the Provost’s office whether a tenured faculty member can still be employed by the university even if they have no degree program!
  • I called the main research conference in our field a “woke joke” on my blog, because of its growing focus on social justice nonsense. This ignited a firestorm. The president of the association was so furious she devoted part of her presidential address at the conference to publicly castigating me and my blog post, with a big photo of me on the ballroom screen behind her. Pasque and the Higher Education faculty then repeatedly pressured me to participate in a public meeting with students and faculty to discuss their “strong feelings” about my personal blog post.
  • In her last act as department head, Pasque notified me during the 4th of July weekend in 2019 that she was unilaterally removing me from the Higher Education Master’s program, as well as increasing my teaching load from the standard four courses per year to five. If you’re not familiar with how research universities work, involuntary assignment of a fifth course to a tenured full professor with fine annual evaluations is unprecedented and was clearly meant to force me to quit my job. Pasque’s letter noted that the Dean of the College of Education, Mary Ann Danowitz, was involved in these decisions.
  • Although at this point I was still a member of the Higher Education PhD program, my new department head, John Lee, and the coordinator of the Higher Education program, Joy Gaston-Gayles, refused to allow me to attend faculty meetings related to Higher Education or participate in events with students for the next two years. They also denied me new advisees.
  • NC State’s most recent strategy is to isolate me in the Higher Education PhD program. They created a duplicate of the Higher Education PhD program, called Higher Education Opportunity, Equity and Justice, led by Gaston-Gayles. I was the only Higher Ed faculty member not invited to join the new program. Lee and Dean Danowitz have slowly stripped the old Higher Education program of resources as we try to recruit doctoral students for next year.

Rest assured, I am all in on this fight: I’ve taken a loan from my retirement funds and have refinanced my mortgage to fund my legal bills. But I could definitely use your help; poor Mike Adams spent $700,000 in his successful lawsuit against UNC Wilmington. You can help defray my legal costs via GoFundme or a PayPal donation (also accepts credit cards). If I win the lawsuit and the university must pay my legal bills, I plan to give your donations to FIRE to support their good work.

As Mollie Hemingway recently wrote: “What the Right needs now is the courage to fight even if it costs us.” The one thing I do not lack is courage, so I plan on fighting this battle to the bitter end. And no matter what the cost, no matter what happens to me, I will never, ever bend the knee to these people.

By Stephen

About me

Professor and quant guy. Libertarian turned populist Republican. Trying to learn Japanese and play Spanish Baroque music on the ukulele.

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