Sunday, June 22, 2014

After Denying Promotion to Conservative Prof, UNC Must Pay His $700K Legal Tab

A criminology professor who successfully sued the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) for denying him a promotion because of his conservative and Christian views has been awarded over $700,000 in legal fees.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm Howard ruled that UNCW must pay Prof. Mike Adams' attorneys' fees after a jury concluded in March that the university had unfairly discriminated against him.

But since UNCW is a state university, North Carolina taxpayers will have to foot the bill.

“It’s time for the university to feel some of the financial pinch that its choices have created,” Alliance Defending Freedom litigation staff counsel Travis Barham, who represented Adams, told

“I am sorry that the taxpayers of North Carolina could end up being on the hook for this. That is sad, but that’s where the taxpayers of North Carolina should be standing up and demanding accountability from their state government officials and demanding that UNC-Wilmington and the UNC system at large mend its ways and stop wasting taxpayer money in the way that they have by defending grossly illegal actions,” Barham added.

The university has filed an appeal of the verdict that it unfairly retaliated against Adams because of his conservative speech. It is unclear whether it will also appeal the legal fees ruling, which it called "excessive" in a statement to

Adams began teaching sociology and criminology at UNCW in 1993 and was given tenure in 1998 after his promotion to associate professor.

In 2006, he was denied a promotion to full professor despite an impressive record of achievement, including being named Faculty Member of the Year twice in his first seven years at UNCW, according to Barham.

An atheist and a liberal when he was first hired as a faculty member at UNCW, Adams converted to Christianity in 2000 and became a conservative a few years after he began teaching there.

He has been a vocal critic of the diversity movement in higher education and lectured in favor of First Amendment rights on college campuses. In doing so, he gained national recognition, appearing on TV shows like Hannity, The O’Reilly Factor, and Glenn Beck.

In March, a jury ruled that Adams’ outspokenness about his conservative and Christian beliefs, particularly his columns on, had been a “substantial or motivating factor” in the university’s decision to deny him promotion.

The university was subsequently ordered to promote him to full professor and give him over $50,000 in back pay.


New rules 'could bar conservative Muslims from being school trustees' in Britain

Some Muslims could be effectively excluded from becoming trustees or governors of new academies and free schools under rules introduced by the Education Secretary Michael Gove in response to the "Trojan horse" controversy, community leaders have warned.

The Department for Education has inserted new clauses into the model funding agreement for academies stipulating that its governors should demonstrate "fundamental British values", and giving the Education Secretary powers to close schools if they do not comply.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) told the Guardian that the new rule would make it very difficult to become a school governor if conservative Muslim beliefs were deemed to be incompatible with "British values", and that it put too much power in the secretary of state's hands to define those values.

The document is the first written definition of the "British values" by the Department for Education that Mr Gove said all schools should be promoting in the wake of the Trojan Horse row over allegations of Muslim extremism in Birmingham schools.

It says that schools must promote British values of respect for the law, democracy, equality and tolerance of different faiths and religious and other beliefs.

The "Trojan horse" row, fuelled by allegations of Islamist infiltration into Birmingham schools, involved four academies in the city which were deemed to have failed to instil British values into pupils, and were placed in special measures prior to having their funding cancelled and leadership replaced.

Following the controversy, Mr Gove announced that schools will in future be required to promote "British values", including equality between genders and tolerance of other faiths.

The document, obtained by the Guardian, sets out the practical implementation of that announcement.

The new clauses come in revisions to the funding agreement between academies or free schools and the DfE – a contract that is the legal basis of the relationship between an academy and the government. The new wording will apply to all free schools and academies opening or schools converting to academy status.

Under the existing legal agreement the education secretary was only able to cut off a school's funding if there had been "a serious breakdown in the way the academy is managed or governed" or if the DfE regarded a governor as "not a suitable person".

But the department's new rules enable the education secretary to close the school or dismiss its governors if he thinks that any member of the academy trust is "unsuitable" because of "relevant conduct", defined as anything "aimed at undermining the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs".

A spokesman for the MCB said the danger was that the new clause allowed the Education Secretary to decide who was or was not an extremist based on his own views, and would penalise law-abiding Muslims who wanted to take part in public life.

Talha Ahmad, a senior member of the MCB, told the Guardian: "As a matter of principle, to have so much power vested in one hand is wrong. But then to have powers over an area over which there is no consensus is, frankly speaking, quite dangerous."

A DfE spokesperson said: "There is absolutely no bar to Muslims becoming school governors. We want a diverse range of people, of all faiths and none, to serve on governing bodies."


Why Britain's state schools do so badly at sport: Teachers are 'unwilling' says Ofsted Chief

A third of Britain's medallists in the recent (London) Olympics came from private schools, even though such schools are attended by only 7% of the population

A ‘disproportionately high number’ of athletes and sports stars are privately educated amid the dire state of competitive sport in state schools, according to the head of Ofsted.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector of schools, will today warn that too many pupils are being let down by head teachers who ‘treat competitive sport with suspicion or as an optional extra’.

Not enough state schools are ‘developing the talents of the next generation of Mo Farahs’ and this lack of sporting participation is ‘cementing the social inequality that holds our nation back’.

Children are being hampered by teachers unwilling to run teams, sports taught at a ‘superficial level’ and ‘limited facilities’ such as a lack of playing fields and all-weather playing surfaces.

Sir Michael will call on the Government to do more to enable competitive sport to thrive in the state sector.

Ofsted launched an in-depth assessment of competitive school sport after it emerged that 41 per cent of UK medallists at London 2012 were privately educated.

The watchdog investigated the school backgrounds of English athletes who compete at Olympic and Paralympic standard and also at the highest levels in football, rugby union, hockey, netball and cricket.

It found ‘unacceptable discrepancies’ between the proportion of pupils attending state schools and how well they were represented in elite sport.

Despite state schools educating up to 93 per cent of the population, they only produce about a third of top sportspeople across a range of disciplines, the new analysis found.

Forty-five per cent of hockey players, 54 per cent of the rowing team and 73 per cent of the equestrian team competing at the London 2012 Olympics were privately educated.

In the Rugby Union English Premiership, 61 per cent of players have attended an independent school.

Cricket and hockey also have an ‘over-representation’ of independent-schooled players in their national leagues while football is the ‘most demographically representative’ sport.

Ninety-four per cent of English footballers competing in the Premier League have been educated at state schools.

Sir Michael will tell the Festival of Education conference at Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire, today: ‘It simply can’t be right that state educated athletes are so woefully under-represented in our elite sports.

‘Heads who treat competitive sport with suspicion or as an optional extra are not only denying youngsters the clear dividends that come with encouraging them to compete, they are also cementing the social inequality that holds our nation back.’

Ofsted also visited 35 state schools and academies and 10 independent schools. It surveyed the views of more than 500 head teachers and 1,000 11 to 18-year-olds.

As a result, the watchdog concluded that competitive sport ‘remains optional in the vast majority of state schools’.

Only half of the young people surveyed reported that they ‘regularly’ played sport in school against their peers or versus other schools. Just 40 per cent said they regularly played sport outside of school.

Among the head teachers surveyed, only 13 per cent said they expected all students to take part in competitive sport. A few indicated that no pupils were expected to participate.

...Only half of the young people surveyed reported that they ‘regularly’ played sport in school against their peers or versus other schools. Just 40 per cent said they regularly played sport outside of school

Ofsted’s report, Going the Extra Mile, said that the quality of competitive sport in state schools was ‘very mixed’. In many schools it ‘was average at best and in a significant number it was weak’.

Only 15 out of 35 state schools played high quality competitive sport regularly and were successful in regional and national schools’ competitions.

The best schools’ competitive sport was flourishing because it was valued and seen as a key part of the culture and ethos. Teachers gave up their time to help organise activities and run teams.

The report says: ‘In too many of the other maintained schools and academies we visited, students had few opportunities to excel in competitive sport because it was not seen as a priority.  ‘It was undervalued by school leaders, who were not investing in it.

‘They did not have enough teachers willing to organise activities and run teams and were unable to provide enough time to coach or play high quality sport.

‘Without the ‘enthusiasts’ and ‘organisers’ – the people on the ground to run school sport – these schools struggled to help students compete regularly or excel.’

These schools were less likely to be rated good or outstanding and typically had lower levels of academic achievement than those state schools that offered high quality competitive sport.

Staff focused time on getting pupils involved in PE instead of high quality competitive sport.

Standards of performance were ‘often low’, with independent schools dominating some sports because they ‘play to a higher standard.’

Sir Michael will insist today that ‘high school fees and large playing fields are not a pre-requisite to success’.

He said: ‘If all schools follow the example of the best identified in this report, there is no reason why more pupils from state funded schools can’t be batting for England at the Ashes or scoring a winning try in the next Six Nations.’


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