Collin College Settles With History Professor Fired Over TweetsHistorians in the News
tags: free speech, academic freedom
Today, Lora Burnett, a former Collin College history professor fired for tweets critical of the college administration and of former Vice President Mike Pence, accepted the college’s offer to pay $70,000 and attorneys’ fees, bringing her First Amendment lawsuit to an end.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education represented Burnett. Although the college has not admitted liability, it has effectively chosen to concede the lawsuit by offering judgment in favor of Burnett.
“I hope I am the last professor that Collin College fires for exercising her First Amendment rights, but if history is any indication, no one who has an opinion is safe from Collin College leaders’ thin skin,” said Burnett. “We should all be protective of the rights granted by the Constitution — and stand up to defend them when they’re violated.”
During the vice presidential debate in October 2020, Burnett tweeted: “The moderator needs to talk over Mike Pence until he shuts his little demon mouth up.” The tweet was picked up by conservative media outlets and outraged Texas State Rep. Jeff Leach, who texted Collin College President Neil Matkin to ask if Burnett was “paid with taxpayer dollars.” Matkin responded that he would “deal with it.”
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