Adams v. Trustees of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
640 F.3d 550 (2011)
In 1993, Adams (plaintiff) became employed as an assistant professor of criminology at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington (UNCW) (defendant). Over the next five years, Adams published several articles, won faculty awards, and received strong teaching evaluations. In 1998, Adams was promoted to associate professor, a tenured position. In 2000, Adams became a Christian and began vocalizing his views on political and social issues. Adams wrote regular columns, appeared as a commentator on television and radio, and published a book. Adams’s columns and appearances involved multiple topics, including civil rights, sex, abortion, homosexuality, and morality, to name a few. In 2004, Adams applied for a promotion to full professor. In his application, Adams included not only his academic awards and peer-reviewed publications but also his columns and other writings and appearances he had made since becoming a Christian, including his book. The senior faculty in Adams’s department reviewed his application and discussed his most recent writings, focusing on how to evaluate those writings because they were not peer-reviewed or traditional academic writings related to his discipline. The senior faculty and department head did not recommend Adams for promotion, citing his lack of scholarly research and publication since his last promotion in 1998. Adams filed a lawsuit against UNCW, alleging retaliation and viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment. The district court granted summary judgment to UNCW, and Adams appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Agee, J.)
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