A University of Central Florida professor is the latest to face political and work-related backlash over comments he made on social media. Unable to fire the professor for his tweet, the university opened a massive investigation into his decades-long career to find something it could use to terminate him.
Professor Charles Negy has been an associate professor of psychology since 1998. He teaches controversial subjects, such as Cross-Cultural Psychology and Sexual Behavior, and can often be blunt. His personality has caused some strife among the UCF community, but he has received routinely positive evaluations.
This June, however, Negy’s eccentric personality and non-mainstream thoughts got him into trouble with today’s woke crowds. Negy commented on an article written by Steve Sailer for Taki’s Magazine, which concluded:
What America needs to do is treat blacks as human beings with free will who when they make good choices should enjoy the benefits and when they make bad choices should experience the consequences. Instead, The Establishment views blacks as our Sacred Cows, above criticism, but beneath agency.
Negy responded to the article by saying it was “spot on (will infuriate folks).”
“Black privilege is real: Besides [affirmative] 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.”
The article is much more controversial, and though many may disagree with Negy’s choice to share it and his comments regarding it, he didn’t do anything to warrant an investigation by UCF. His tweets are protected by the First Amendment, and he had no previous complaints lodged against him by anyone suggesting he was discriminatory against black students.
After his tweets, people on Twitter started the hashtag #UCFfirehim, but UCF president Alexander Cartwright bemoaned the fact that he couldn’t fire Negy for the tweet.
“The Constitution restricts our ability to fire him or any other University employee for expressing personal opinions about matters of public concern. This is the law,” Cartwright told the Orlando Sentinel.
Negy’s attorney, Samantha Harris, wrote about his case at Quillette, arguing that since Cartwright couldn’t just fire Negy for the tweet, he asked students and faculty to come forward with accusations of discrimination. Cartwright first addressed Negy’s tweets and then said: “If any student, current or former, believes they may have experienced abusive or discriminatory behavior by any faculty or staff member, we want to know about it. UCF takes every report seriously. Concerns can be reported to UCF’s IntegrityLine, which also takes anonymous complaints.” (Emphasis added.)
As Harris wrote, the “witch hunt” worked:
Since June 4th, a litany (we don’t know the exact number, because they won’t say) of complaints has been lodged against Negy for his classroom pedagogy, for speech that allegedly occurred over a 15-year period from 2005 to 2020. The university charged Negy with discriminatory harassment on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, sex, gender identity/expression, and disability—it is worth noting here that Negy himself is both an ethnic and sexual minority—while providing him with only a handful of “examples” of his alleged wrongdoing. Negy begged for more information prior to his investigative interview so that he might prepare to defend himself, but UCF refused.
Negy on Friday attended an “investigative interview,” at which Harris was present, which lasted four hours and consisted of a UCF investigator continuously grilling Negy “about accusations stemming directly from his classroom pedagogy, having made no effort to weed out the countless accusations that were obviously just critiques of his choice of teaching material.”
“UCF also made no effort to consolidate allegations, repeatedly asking Negy variations of the same question, ad infinitum. And again, virtually all of these questions related directly to Negy’s pedagogy, which deals with unavoidably controversial subjects,” Harris continued. “When Negy, physically and emotionally exhausted after four hours of interrogation, asked if the interview was almost over, we learned that the investigator had not even gotten halfway through her list of accusations. Since he could take no more, another five-hour inquisition was scheduled for the following week.”
Negy, it should be noted, is an “ethnic and sexual minority,” as described by his attorney.