Mike Adams, a sociology and criminology professor at University of North Carolina Wilmington, will retire on August 1, Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli said in a statement on Monday.
Additionally. the day before, he had tweeted that universities shouldn’t be closing but that they should shut down “the non-essential majors. Like Women’s Studies.”
The latest controversy began in late May when Adams tweeted that he dined with six men at a six-seat table and “felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina.” He then wrote: “Massa Cooper, let my people go!”
It wasn’t a first for Adams, who in 2016 posted an article about a student activist under the title “A ‘Queer Muslim’ Jihad,” The News & Observer reported at the time.
Prior to his decision to retire, he had responded to those calling for his removal by saying “When you write the university asking them to fire me don’t forget to leave a mailing address so I can send you a box of panty liners.”
Statement from the University:
“Over the past several weeks, many of you have inquired about the status of a UNCW faculty member, Dr. Mike Adams, in light of the public attention generated by comments he made on his personal social media channels,” the university’s statement said. “We can now share the update that after a discussion with Chancellor Sartarelli, Dr. Adams has decided to retire from UNCW, effective August 1, 2020. We will have no further comment on this matter at this time, but we plan to share an update later this week regarding how we hope to move forward as a university community.”
This situation was complicated by the fact that as a Tenured Professor at a publicly-funded school, the 1st amendment applied directly to his comments. This was the reasoning the school gave for not taking action with his statements in the past.
Worse, the school had actually been forced to give him tenure and payout from trying to clamp down on his behaviour before:
He sued UNCW for discrimination in 2007, saying he was denied a promotion because of his “political and religious views,” the Wilmington Star-News reported. That lawsuit resulted in him getting $50,000 in back pay and hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees, according to The News & Observer. He then earned tenure and was given a raise.
It’s good to see that public opinion seems to have been enough to turn the tide here, though I’m interested to know what it was that actually pushed him to retire in the end.