An associate professor of psychology at the University of Central Florida (UCF) is suing his university for firing him last year over a Twitter diatribe comparing Asian Americans to African Americans and proclaiming “white Americans are under siege.”
In the lawsuit, Charles Negy, who has since recovered, accuses the university’s board of trustees of violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The lawsuit also charges the board with negligence, abusing process and intentionally inflicting severe emotional distress, reports said.
Negy’s attorney, Samantha Harris, filed the lawsuit in Florida’s Middle District on Thursday, noting in the complaint that his tweets made him the target of protests at the university and in front of his home.
Prohibited by the First Amendment from explicitly firing him over his tweets, UCF administrators publicly asked people to raise discrimination and harassment complaints against Professor Negy, then launched a malicious, pretextual investigation into every aspect of his 22-year career at the University. .
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In a statement to Fox newsHarris accused UCF of treating the professor “less than humane” when the institution decided to penalize him for his “protected tweets.”
Their treatment of him, I think, really speaks to this broader trend of how we dehumanize people we disagree with. We don’t just say, “Oh, I think they’re wrong,” or even, “Wow, I really don’t like what they have to say.” We say, “You know what? They are no longer a person to me and what happens to them does not matter.” And I think that’s really evident in the University of Central Florida’s treatment of Charles Nagy.
Negy sparked controversy in a now deleted tweet posted in June 2020 asking if systemic racism wouldn’t exist if black people acted more like Asian Americans:
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If African Americans as a group had the same behavioral profile as Asian Americans (on average the best academic achievement, highest income, lowest crime rate, etc.), would we still be proclaiming “systematic racism”?
In a subsequent tweet, Negy proclaimed: “Black privilege is real: except confirm. action, special grants and other exemptions, it is a privilege to be protected from legitimate criticism. But as a group they miss out on much-needed feedback.”
In his book “White Shaming: Bullying Based on Prejudice, Virtue-Signaling, and Ignorance,” Negy argues that “white Americans and white culture are often under siege because of a myriad of transgressions.”
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Following the backlash, UCF announced they had fired the professor, explaining in a statement that the decision was made not because of his views, but because of student complaints and the creation of a hostile work environment.
In the complaint, Harris wrote that Negy, a professor at UCF for 22 years, was never notified, noting that the university’s collective bargaining agreement requires tenured faculty members to receive six months’ notice before termination. Negy was tenured at the university for 18 years.
After being fired in January 2021, Harris said Negy was forced to sell his home and move in with a relative as he was the sole caregiver for his mentally and physically disabled brother. Harris wrote in the complaint that Negy suffered “serious emotional problems for nearly two years” after his termination.
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Negy was eventually reinstated in May 2022 after an arbitrator demanded that the university return his position with back pay and benefits, as the arbitrator found the termination to be without cause.