University Press

Former FAU professor James Tracy loses free speech case

The jury came to a verdict after three hours on Monday.

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

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

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

Benjamin Paley, Distribution Manager

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Former communications professor James Tracy will not be getting his job back after a jury unanimously ruled in FAU’s favor, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

It took jurors three hours on Monday to rule against Tracy, who claims he was fired after writing on his blog that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.

The verdict comes after a week of testimony from Tracy, FAU faculty, administrators as well as former students of Tracy’s. 

Tracy’s lawsuit claimed that FAU’s firing violated his free speech rights. But university officials claim that he was fired because he repeatedly refused to fill out mandatory forms that disclosed his work outside of the school.

Tracy has not commented on the verdict, but one of his attorneys called reporters “presstitutes” and yelled “fake news” as he left the courtroom, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

FAU addressed the verdict in a statement released on their website:

“We are grateful for the careful consideration of the jury in this matter. The university will continue to prioritize its research mission and the education of its students. The university will make no further comment regarding this matter at this time.”

Tracy plans to appeal the verdict.

Benjamin Paley is the distribution manager of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].

About the Writer
Benjamin Paley, Distribution Manager
Benjamin is a graduate student studying public administration, and has previously been a contributing writer. He hopes to work on Capitol Hill one day. During his off time, Benjamin enjoys reading a good book or watching British comedies.
2 Comments

2 Responses to “Former FAU professor James Tracy loses free speech case”

  1. Terry Warren on December 12th, 2017 1:37 pm

    The decision that upheld the university’s right to dismiss James Tracy was not an attack on free speech, as Professor Conspiracy Theory asserts. Reckless, irresponsible speech, however, is afforded no such protection.
    It was established that James Tracy repeatedly refused to complete forms as requested by his employer, Florida Atlantic University. Smug, egotistical arrogant jerks need to understand that if someone wants them gone they only need to find one thing. Further, Tracy’s right to hold a controversial opinion, no matter how misguided or idiotic, does not permit him to intentionally foist pain and anguish upon the parents of a murdered child, which is what this guy did.
    Many people have lost jobs for far less legitimate reasons. Time to move on, Professor. You are free to look for another job.
    #FAU
    Freedom of speech?
    Absolutely, I support it.
    Understand that it does not include reckless, irresponsible speech.

  2. Bryant Eng on December 19th, 2017 4:12 pm

    I’m a little perturbed by the idea that reckless and irresponsible speech falls outside of your definition of protected speech. Whatever your opinion on Tracy, the general premise of your comment is incongruent with the protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution.

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