A former tenured professor at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Florida sued the school, president, trustees, as well as his former union and union representatives for inter alia wrongful termination and breach of contract premised upon First Amendment claims and a dispute over signing an “Outside Activity” form.
This may sound fairly un-newsworthy outside of the academic world until you factor in that the plaintiff is James Tracy, who espouses that the Sandy Hook, CT shooting was staged. Specifically, he is quoted as claiming that parents of the murdered children are lying and profiting. He has been quoted as claiming that the Boston Marathon bombing was a “false flag.” Given his controversial opinions, Wikipedia has a fairly even-handed bio for Tracy, here.
The lawsuit, James Tracy v. Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees et al., is here.
We’ll address the legal arguments in this case once FAU files a response. Their response is due in early May.
Notably, the media coverage has been focused on Tracy’s bombastic theories. While the Complaint makes the allegation that he was terminated due to his beliefs, the legal arguments appear to largely center on whether it was constitutional to fire him for failure to follow a revised university policy regarding completing a form which requires professors to describe their outside activities.
As this case unfolds, it is important to internally silence your own agreement or disagreement with the content of Tracy’s speech so that you might fairly and even-handedly ascertain if there is a viable constitution, contractual, or tortious claim at issue.
- Tracy is represented by attorney Louis Leo, IV who works for a criminal defense and personal injury law firm in Coconut Creek, Florida. Mr. Leo’s bio indicates that he is the founder of the Florida Civil Rights Coalition, a two-month old entity which appears related to his firm (the Coalition’s Facebook page is here, and a website under construction is here).
- Tracy continues to blog at MemoryHoleBlog.com.
- The syllabus for Professor’s Tracy’s former “Culture of Conspiracy” class is here. The course began with a discussion of the JFK assassination and ends with the screening of “9/11 Press for Truth,” an independent film which appears to have received limited attention. Of note, the reading material for this class was, not surprisingly, heavily-tilted towards the alternative and conspiratorial: the list of authors and sources include Fletcher Proudy, “JFK” movie director Oliver Stone, and Jim Marrs, among others (In his book Alien Agenda, Marrs claims to have “uncovered compelling new evidence regarding extraterrestrials-that alien life forms have not only visited our planet in the past, but are among us right now”).
- Tracy contributed to a 400+ book “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook” which you can download here. You will need to download it — the authors claim it was banned by Amazon (unconfirmed – I could not find a source other than the authors’ press release).
- One of the editors of that book, Jim Fetzer, is a retired university professor, well-known in the JFK conspiracy community, who, like Tracy, had some conflict with his university before retirement (according to one article, “UMD officials say Fetzer has the right to express his views, but he also has the responsibility to make clear he’s not speaking for the university.”).
- At the risk of teetering way off topic, Snopes.com does not mention Tracy or Fetzer but does cover some of the Sandy Hook conspiracy theories.
We’ll continue to follow this lawsuit and provide links to the pleadings.
Image credit: NBC Miami