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Bush-Supporting Professor Granted Trial for Firing

An important victory for academic freedom.

by
Candace de Russy

Bio

November 13, 2008 - 12:00 am
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A professor of political science, Michael Filozof, maintains he was sacked in 2004 from Monroe Community College (MCC), a publicly funded campus in Rochester, New York, for expressing his personal political opinions outside the classroom, reports News 10NBC. The fact that he had been rated “an exceedingly gifted teacher” apparently counted for naught in his firing.

And what were Filozof’s political speech “crimes”? “I voiced support for the War in Iraq and for President Bush at the time,” he states, adding that he “found that MCC was an extraordinary partisan and intolerant environment” and that “the taxpayers would be shocked to know how intolerant and bigoted many of the faculty members there are.”

But these persecutors greatly underestimated the fortitude of Filozof, who did not take his dismissal supinely but sued MCC, its board of trustees, and several of its officers for violations of the First Amendment, asking for back pay and to be reinstated in his job.

Filozof fought long and hard in face of evasive tactics on the part of MCC, which responded by asking the court to dismiss the case, and despite ostracism elsewhere in academe. “MCC has certainly stone-walled this case from the start,” notes Filozof’s attorney, Nelson Thomas of Dolin, Thomas and Solomon. Filozof also “has faced blacklisting in the academic community,” Thomas says (as cited by Christine Caulfield at Competition Law360), “despite his excellent abilities as a professor.”

Filozof claims MCC infringed his First Amendment rights. More exactly, asserts Thomas, “he was terminated for his political beliefs. This was absolutely political discrimination. It was political correctness run amuck.”

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