This news is found in the Advocate, the major newspaper in Louisiana’s capitol city of Baton Rouge. The headline is ULL professor sues for ‘discrimination’ . We’re grateful to our clandestine operative, “Bayou Boy,” for bringing it to our attention. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
A University of Louisiana at Lafayette professor has filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the university’s Communicative Disorders Department alleging faculty members have discriminated against him and marginalized his position because of his beliefs on creationism and an alleged connection between autism, mercury and vaccinations.
Oh goodie — another creationist lawsuit over “viewpoint discrimination.” And — although we’ve never followed the subject — he may be an anti-vaccer too. We were wondering what we’d write about when the Coppedge trial is over, and now we know. Back to the news:
John Oller, a professor of cognitive disorders, says in the suit, filed late last week in U.S. District Court in Lafayette, that departmental members have urged him to leave, reduced his class size, forbidden him from participating in policy committees, banned his textbook, denied him opportunities to lecture or instruct students, and announced to him that it was due to his viewpoints on matters of academic and public concern, “thereby condemning him for his outlooks as an official act of department authority,” the suit says.
Oller? We’ve seen that name before. In this Wikipedia article on the creationist classic by Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, we’re told: “Creationists including John W. Oller, Jr of the Institute for Creation Research, and Answers in Genesis positively reviewed Denton’s book.” Is that our man?
It would seem so. Here’s an article someone with that name wrote for ICR: Learning and Evolution, and here’s another: Einstein’s Gulf: Can Evolution Cross it?, which describes him at the end as “a professor of communicative disorders at the University of Louisiania [sic].” And here’s something he apparently wrote for AIG: Words Are Us. Yes, that’s our man.
Let’s read on about his unpopular viewpoints that have precipitated his lawsuit:
Those matters involve his beliefs in creationism and intelligent design, semiotic theory and on the association of toxins and disease agents with autism spectrum disorders, which involves the belief that autism is caused mainly by toxins and disease agents, such as mercury.
Well! There’s more here than creationism. We continue:
The suit says department members have engaged in “concerted efforts” to eliminate his contributions to students by excluding him from teaching opportunities, and forbidding him to use the textbook that he authored to teach the class, even while teaching non-cognitive disorders students.
Serious stuff! Here’s one more excerpt:
Oller accuses Nancye C. Roussel, an associate professor of communicative disorders and the head of the CODI department, and A. David Barry, dean of the college of liberal arts, of violating his First Amendment rights and for breaching promissory and contractual obligations to him. The suit also names Martin J. Ball, a professor of communicative disorders at ULL and the chairman of the CODI department from April 2004 through spring 2008, of violating Louisiana law by breaching promissory and contractual obligations to him, according to the suit.
We’ll need to learn a lot more about this before we have anything substantive to say. No doubt we’ll be posting more about Oller’s case in the months to come.
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