Florida Atlantic University is taking steps to fire a tenured communications professor who claims the Sandy Hook massacre and other mass shootings are hoaxes, reports the Sun-Sentinel. James Tracy received a termination letter last week, but has the right to appeal.
In 2013, Tracy wrote on his blog that the Sandy Hook massacre probably was staged. University officials said he had a free-speech right to assert his views on a blog not affiliated with the university.
Tracy went on to claim that “almost every mass shooting or attack in the United States has been a hoax, including ones at the Boston Marathon, the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., and the recent shooting in San Bernadino, Calif.,” reports the Sun-Sentinel.
Earlier this month, Veronique and Lenny Pozner, whose son, Noah, died at Sandy Hook, accused Tracy of harassment for resisting conspiracy theorists.
Tracy sent them a certified letter demanding proof that Noah once lived, that they were his parents and owned the rights to his photo, the parents wrote in the Sun-Sentinel.
“Once Tracy realized we would not respond, he subjected us to ridicule and contempt on his blog, boasting to his readers that the ‘unfulfilled request’ was ‘noteworthy’ because we had used copyright claims to ‘thwart continued research of the Sandy Hook massacre event.’
On a “Sandy Hook Hoax” Facebook page, Tracy responded:
“The local conspirators in Newtown, such as the alleged parents of the murdered children, including Lenny and Veronique Pozner, have made out very well financially, soliciting contributions from generous yet misinformed Americans, where the families have averaged more than $1 million apiece.”
Tracy claims Noah’s death certificate is “a fabrication.”
Can a university fire a tenured professor for being crazy?
“Tenure is not immunity,” Jeffrey S. Morton, a tenured FAU professor of International Law, told the Sun-Sentinel. Tracy’s “harassment of the parents of murdered children was vulgar, repulsive and an insult to the academic profession. While there are real reasons to protect tenure for academic research, Tracy’s ‘scholarship’ makes a mockery of what academics do.”