James Tracy files lawsuit against Florida Atlantic University

The former communication professor files a civil rights lawsuit against the school and faculty union.


James Tracy claimed that FAU fired him because of controversial conspiracy theories he shared on his blog. Photo by Michelle Friswell

Nate Nkumbu, Contributing Writer

After being relieved of his duties in December of last year, James Tracy has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Florida Atlantic University and the faculty union.

The former communication professor filed the lawsuit under the U.S. Federal Court located in West Palm Beach.

The suit states that the FAU violated its own longstanding principle on academic freedom and Tracy’s First Amendment rights to free speech.

The United Faculty of Florida and Florida Education Association were also named in the document as a part of the lawsuit. Tracy is accusing both organizations of conspiring with university administration to remove Tracy from his job.

“In late 2015, Professor Tracy was again threatened with disciplinary action for requesting clarification on and questioning changes made to the University’s vague and confusing ‘Conflict of Interest/Outside Activities’ policy,” the suit reads.

“Instead of coming to his aid, Tracy’s faculty union representatives, including representatives and officials from UFF and FEA, helped the University terminate Tracy’s tenured employment — denying him meaningful representation and defense against the University’s threatened discipline.”

Tracy made headlines back in 2012 for his controversial comment following the Sandy Hook school shooting, saying that the shootings were staged and that they never happened. He was also accused of harassing one of the victim’s parents about the shooting.

Since dropping his union-appointed lawyer, Tracy is seeking crowdfunding for legal representation. He has about $2,000, and the page says he needs $10,000.

Nate Nkumbu is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @FoureyedNate.