Judge rules lawsuit by professor demoted for alleged ‘homophobic’ remarks in class can move forward

News from Pacific Justice Institute
March 14, 2012

A professor’s free speech lawsuit against officials at Fresno City College was given the go-ahead this week by a federal judge. The court’s ruling signals a potential showdown in the coming months over the scope of academic freedom held by college and university instructors.

Dr. Brad Lopez has taught a variety of health and science classes at FCC for about 35 years. In 2010, Dr. Lopez was reprimanded and reassigned to teach less desirable classes following complaints about comments he made during lectures referencing religion and sexual orientation. The complaints were initiated and chiefly pursued by a student who did not take any of Dr. Lopez’s classes but claimed that friends in the class were offended. Despite the second-hand source, the ACLU also chimed in against Dr. Lopez, who denies that he ever said most of the allegedly “homophobic” statements attributed to him. He also points out that administrators ignored the many students who came to his defense during the process. 

The federal suit, filed by Dr. Lopez last year, cleared a key hurdle this week, as a federal judge allowed the central claims in the case to go forward and rejected arguments by the college’s attorneys that the entire suit be dismissed. The court’s thorough, 20-page ruling signals the importance of the case for the future of academic freedom. Dr. Lopez is represented by Fresno attorney Charles Magill, who is an affiliate of Pacific Justice Institute and has been working with PJI staff attorneys on the case.

Brad Dacus, the president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “We are very pleased that the court recognized the importance of this case and has given a green light to the main claims. Well-respected professors like Dr. Lopez have the right to teach without fear of reprimand or censorship based on hearsay and hypersensitivity. This is a constitutional lesson Fresno City College clearly has yet to learn.”


Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 3:25 AM By Betty
Whatever happened to “STANDING” in the Court system? Someone who did not take classes being offended with second hand information? Where is the ACLU regarding Obama forcing those with religious beliefs to violate them?

Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 6:16 AM By 4unborn
It sounds like the professor was talking about homosexuality not homosexuals. The college’s actions attack religion and one’s beliefs!!

Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 6:34 AM By JLS
The college wants to get a younger and thus lower salaried professor in there.

Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 6:56 AM By Canisius
This man was demoted on the basis of a second hand allegation we have entered a new Stalinist thought crimes era. Thank you liberals, you will reap what you have sown

Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 7:37 AM By rmuffin
This attack on Dr. Lopez is truly un-American. We support you and your right to teach truth without fear of retribution. Our students have the right to hear both sides of an issue–even though the ACLU doesn’t think so.

Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 7:59 AM By JMJ
I bet that the big ‘o’ and Hillary and Rosanne Barr are ripping about this decision. Now, when can we stop the lies and sins of all the heterophobic attacks against God’s people by those hate groups? +JMJ+

Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 8:33 AM By Fr. J
Liberals have never believed in free speech.

Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 12:00 PM By St. Christopher
A hard battle will be fought over this and, even if Mr. Dacus wins, the school will pretty much refuse to recognize the suit — the professor’s career there is effectively over. But, he should win and, hopefully, get legal fees (although the latter is not likely unless it is provided by statute). The key next steps will be to seek the removal of the President of the school along with department heads, administrators, trustees, etc. who were involved with this, or did nothing to correct this policy. “Fr. J” is correct regarding Liberal disdain for free speech and academic freedom (except to accomodate their demands).