Sandy Hook professor decided to file a lawsuit against his former employer because he feels that school fired him for expressing his opinion.
The lawsuit also accuses the United Faculty of Florida, two of its officials and the Florida Education Association of helping the university fire him rather than defending him.
Tracy’s case has been closely watched, by both free-speech and academic-freedom advocates and by people shocked by his views.
Tracy has questioned the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., when police and media reported 27 people, including 20 young children, were killed by a gunman who then shot himself. Tracy has written that it was all a hoax staged in an effort to pass gun-control laws.
“Both Florida Atlantic University administrators and the University’s faculty union claim they are committed to protecting constitutional rights and principles of academic freedom, but their actions speak loud and clear,” said Louis Leo IV of the Florida Civil Rights Coalition and Medgebow Law, in a statement issued Tuesday.
“Tenure, free speech, due process and academic freedom are under attack. Without judicial intervention, employees and faculty at Florida Atlantic University and other universities around the United States, will continue to be censored, deterred or chilled from sharing unpopular information or opinions for fear that they will be disciplined on a pretext.”
Joshua Glanzer, a spokesman for Florida Atlantic University, said in an email Tuesday, “We do not comment on any pending litigation, and we have yet to be served in this case.”
Tracy had been threatened by the university with disciplinary action in 2013, according to the case, but was successfully defended by union representatives. He added language, suggested by the university, according to the case, to his blog saying his writings were his opinions and not those of any institution.
This winter, the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed at Sandy Hook, Lenny and Veronique Pozner, wrote in the Sun-Sentinel that Tracy had harassed them for proof that the murder happened. They wrote that although Tracy’s freedom of speech is protected, his job is not, and said his position on the faculty at Florida Atlantic lent unmerited credence to his views.
“Tracy even sent us a certified letter demanding proof that Noah once lived, that we were his parents, and that we were the rightful owner of his photographic image,” they wrote. “We found this so outrageous and unsettling that we filed a police report for harassment. 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.’ ”
Soon after the Pozners’ piece had published, Tracy wrote an online post re-asserting his beliefs that no one was killed in Newtown that day, that “local co-conspirators” got financial benefits for faking grief and that the parents were trying to get him fired.
“Do ‘the legitimate interests of the university’ include the pursuit of truth?” he wrote. He gave examples of research about the “performance” at Sandy Hook, such as, “no surge of EMTs in to the building, no string of ambulances to take them to hospitals to be declared dead or alive, no Med-Evac helicopter called to the scene, no 469 other students evacuated and no bodies placed on the triage tarps outside. ”
The full complaint can be SEEN HERE.