Florida professor sues his university for firing him after he compared Asian Americans to African Americans
An associate psychology professor at the University of Central Florida (UCF) is launching a lawsuit against his university for firing him last year over a Twitter rant in which he compared Asian Americans to African Americans and proclaimed, “white Americans are under siege.”
In the lawsuit, Charles Negy, who has since been reinstated, accuses the university’s board of trustees of violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The lawsuit also accuses the board of negligence, abuse of process and intentional infliction of severe emotional distress, according to reports.
Negy’s attorney, Samantha Harris, filed the lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida on Thursday, noting in the complaint that his tweets made him a target of protest at the university and in front of his home.
Forbidden by the First Amendment to explicitly fire him for his tweets, UCF administrators publicly solicited people to come forward with complaints of discrimination and harassment against Professor Negy and then launched a malicious, pretextual investigation into every aspect of his 22-year career at the university.
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In a statement to Fox News, Harris accused UCF of treating the professor “less than human” when the institution decided to punish him for his “protected tweets.”
Their treatment of him, I think, really speaks to this broader trend of how we dehumanize people we disagree with. We don't only say, “Oh, I think they're wrong,” or even, “Wow, I really don't like what they have to say.” We say, “You know what? They're no longer a person to me and what happens to them doesn't matter.” And I think that's really evident in the University of Central Florida's treatment of Charles Nagy.
Negy sparked controversy in a now-deleted tweet posted in June 2020 in which he asked if systemic racism would not exist if Black people behaved more like Asian Americans:
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If Afr. Americans as a group, had the same behavioral profile as Asian Americans (on average, performing the best academically, having the highest income, committing the lowest crime, etc.), would we still be proclaiming “systematic racism” exists?
In a subsequent tweet, Negy proclaimed: "Black privilege is real: Besides affirm. action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege. But as a group, they’re missing out on much needed feedback."
In his book “White Shaming: Bullying Based on Prejudice, Virtue-Signaling, and Ignorance," Negy argues that “white Americans and white culture frequently are under siege for a host of transgressions.”
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Following the backlash, UCF announced that they had fired the professor and explained in a statement that the decision was not because of his opinions, but due to student complaints and creating a hostile working environment.
In the complaint, Harris wrote that Negy, a professor at UCF for 22 years, was never notified, noting that the university’s Collective Bargaining Agreement requires tenured faculty members to receive a six-month notification before their termination. Negy was tenured at the university for 18 years.
After being fired in January 2021, Harris said Negy was forced to sell his home and move in with a relative as he was the sole caretaker of his mentally and physically disabled brother. Harris wrote in the complaint that Negy suffered “severe emotional distress he suffered for nearly two years” after his termination.
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Negy was eventually reinstated in May 2022 after an arbitrator demanded the university return his position with back pay and benefits, as the arbitrator found the termination to have been without cause.