Officials at Chapman University in Orange, California, say they do not have the authority to fire a law professor who was a featured speaker at last week’s “Save America” rally, which ended with some attendees storming the U.S. Capitol — an attack that left five people dead.
The announcement comes after more than 150 faculty members called on officials at the private college to dismiss John C. Eastman. He was the man in the hat who shared the stage with Rudy Giuliani when the president’s personal attorney told the crowd, “Let’s have trial by combat.”
“The Manual allows for the termination of faculty who are disbarred, however, that is not the case today,” reads a recent statement from Dr. Daniele Struppa, president of Chapman University. “The Manuel does not allow me to decide on my own that any faculty is a criminal or that they should be disbarred and therefore fired, which is what I am being asked to do.”
Chapman faculty had co-signed a letter demanding Eastman be let go, claiming he “incited violence” and “spouted lies about ‘secret folders’ to fire up an angry crowd.”
“These conspiratorial claims of a stolen election were the basis of the insurrection, and he was identified on television as a faculty member of our university,” the letter said. “Free Speech is sacred, and tenured academics like Eastman have the privilege of speaking their mind without fear of repercussion. But Eastman abused that freedom.”
The letter cited a court case and argued, “when speech shades over into violence and insurrection, it is no longer permissible.”
At the Jan. 6 rally, Eastman spoke of massive election fraud. He said uncounted ballots were kept in “a secret folder” in some voting machines and kept there “until they know how many they need.”
According to Eastman, the machines in question have the ability to “match those unvoted ballots with an unvoted voter” after the polls close. He alleged the process created bogus ballots counted in the presidential election on Nov. 3 and the Georgia Senate runoffs the night before.
“All we are demanding of Vice President (Mike) Pence is, this afternoon at one o’clock, he let the legislatures of the state look into this, so we get to the bottom of it, and the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government, or not?”
“We no longer live in a self-governing Republic if we can’t get the answer to this question,” Eastman added as his fiery speech concluded. “This is bigger than President Trump, and it the very essence of our Republican form of government, and it has to be done. And anybody who is not willing to stand up to do it does not deserve to be in the office. It is that simple.”
Chapman faculty said in the letter that Eastman is “a very real threat” who “does not belong on our campus,” alleging he took part in “an effort to destroy our democracy.”
After President Struppa called the unruly mob that attacked the Capitol “terrorists,” he acknowledged his refusal to fire Eastman over his alleged role in the riot was unpopular with many faculty members.
“As much as that saddens me, it will not compel me to violate the rules under which the university operates,” he said.
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