Jury Rules for Christian Professor in Case Against University

By:  Dave Bohon
Jury Rules for Christian Professor in Case Against University

A jury in North Carolina has ruled that officials at University of North Carolina-Wilmington retaliated against one of the school's professors, a former atheist, because of his Christian views.

In 1993 UNC-Wilmington hired Mike Adams, who has a Ph.D., as an assistant professor of criminology, promoting him to associate professor in 1998. Adams, who frequently received professional accolades from his colleagues, was also an avowed atheist. That all changed in 2000, however, when he converted to Christianity, a transformation that dramatically impacted his views on political and social issues.

Dr. Adams' conversion also marked the beginning of a change in the attitude of colleagues and administration toward him. According to Adams, after his conversion the university began to target him with a campaign of academic persecution that culminated in his denial of promotion to full professor, despite an award-winning record of teaching, research, and scholarly publication.

In 2007 Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative legal advocacy group, filed suit against the university on behalf of Adams, arguing that Adams was denied the well-deserved promotion because a nationally syndicated opinion column he wrote took the wrong viewpoint on religious and political issues.

According to the ADF, in 2004 the university's interim chair of the department of sociology and criminal justice Dr. Diane Levy (notorious as an outspoken feminist with decidedly leftist leanings) “raised concerns about Adams’ 'political activity,' and reprimanded him for his weekly nationally syndicated column.”

In 2005, Levy was replaced as department chair by Dr. Kimberly J. Cook, also an outspoken feminist who was openly critical of the Christian faith. According to the ADF, Cook once “described to a recruitment committee her ideal candidate for a teaching position as ‘a lesbian with spiked hair and a dog collar.’”

In 2006, upon the completion of his 11th peer-reviewed scholarly publication, Adams applied for promotion to full professorship. But during a closed-door meeting, “Cook and senior faculty members decided not to promote Adams,” reported ADF, an action that prompted Adams and the ADF to file suit for discrimination.

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