TAMPA—I need your help.
There’s no other way to put it.
More importantly, the entire system of academic freedom in this country needs your help.
If you want to ensure a world where university professors can research and teach in an environment that values knowledge above all, now is the time to act.
I greatly appreciate the individuals who donated to the Public Records Fund, and your generosity helped offset more than half of my personal expenses in seeking public records.
But now the stakes are much, much higher.
Academic Freedom Matters to Us All
Although my saga has now been ongoing for more than a year, we are now in the expensive part of the fight.
In the past year, I have yet to find a single case in all of American jurisprudence where a tenured professor was dismissed on the kind of trivial allegations trumped up by USF—not even remotely.
To put it bluntly, the action attempted by USF would reduce the protection of tenure to noting, equating it with at-will employment in a right-to-work state.
If unchecked, this one hasty act by an administration trying to save face could do more damage to tenure that any other single act in the history of tenure.
This precedent cannot stand. This precedent must not stand.
Rights Are Free; Protecting Them Isn’t
My current legal expenses already have run into five figures. I have emptied every retirement account and paid the stiff penalties that accompany those withdrawals.
The U.S. Constitution gives us many rights; however, it provides no mechanism to fund the defense of those rights.
Without fail, when I tell this story to an academic, that person says, “But they can’t do that.”
And I am forced to reply, “They can’t, but they did.”
And that have a cadre of attorneys on full-time salary paid by the taxpayers. It has not cost one of them a cent.
As our nation has witnessed, the courts are the check on abuses of power by the state. But courts are not free, and good legal counsel is not inexpensive.
If you want all of the details, you can look back through past posts on the subject using the tags to the right.
But the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that when agreements are written as they are at USF, tenure represents a ”property right“ under the Fourteenth Amendment.
That means that it should have been as difficult for USF to take away my tenure as it would have been to seize my house, bank account, or vehicle.
Yet they merely wrote a letter.
And if this precedent is somehow allowed to stand, it will be that much easier for the next academics-hating politician to take away your tenure or remodel our system of higher education where your children or grandchildren will not have the opportunity to learn.
Lest I need to remind you of that current political climate:
“The fight against the education establishment extends to you too. The faculty, from adjunct professors to deans, tell you what to do, what to say, and more ominously, what to think.”
– U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Feb. 23, 2017
Any Contribution Will Help
Since this blog began in July 2016, there have been tens of thousands of unique site visitors. If each of those visitors contributed $1, it would change the world.
There are many great causes in need of money now. I understand that. When arsonists hit a local mosque last Friday, I scraped together $5 to help rebuild. It wasn’t much, but it helped them reach their goal.
Any amount helps.
When the Public Records Fund opened, some people donated $100, some $50, some $20, and some in the single digits. I understand that you might not have much to contribute. But $1 really will make a difference.
And I will pay it forward. When my case ultimately triumphs, your donation will be forwarded to help fight for academic freedom and tenure (or a cause of your choosing).
An Offer to Multiply Your Impact
This fight is not easy. It has not been easy. But the United States Constitution is on our side.
Tomorrow will begin my ninth month without a paycheck. This despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has said in cases such as mine, the employee should be suspended with pay rather than be fired without any kind of hearing.
To-date, USF owes me about $100,000 in back pay alone. This is separate from the $3 million to $4 million in damages they have done to my reputation.
Without boring you with details, in the coming months an impartial arbitrator will be asked to decide on my request for what is known as a “make whole” order. If granted, this would provide me all back pay (with interest) and restore me to my rightful position as a tenured associate professor at USF. As you might imagine, I also have asked for damages.
If you donate to this Legal Aid Fund, here is my pledge to you: When the back pay is awarded, I will forward all money donated to this fund plus an additional 50% (up to $5,000) in your name to the AAUP Foundation’s Legal Defense Fund.
Although I have not yet received any aid from this fund (or any other), I believe it represents the frontline in fighting for our universities.
If you prefer a different charity, you can indicate that in PayPal or on your check or money order, and your contribution plus a matching amount will go there.
Finally, I will forward the receipts (in your name) to you, as unlike Now the Facts, the AAUP Foundation and most charities can afford official IRS charitable status, making the contribution tax deductible.
I make this matching offer to show how strongly I believe in the cause.
Please consider clicking the Donate button at right or mailing a check or money order to:
Sam Bradley/Now The Facts
PO Box 9412
Tampa FL, 33674
Your support is greatly appreciated. Together, I believe we can protect the integrity of our institutions of higher education for years to come.