Collin College Fires Another Outspoken ProfessorHistorians in the News
tags: academic freedom, Collin College
Less than a week after Collin College agreed to pay $70,000 to a former professor fired for questionable reasons, yet another faculty member at the Texas community college is going to be out of a job.
The latest casualty: Michael Phillips, a history professor who has taught at Collin for 14 years and who said he had “overwhelmingly positive” evaluations from students.
“I have students say I inspired them,” said Phillips, who will need to find a new job after his current contract expires on May 15. “They hated history until they came into my class.”
Last week the college agreed to pay $70,000, plus legal fees, to Lora D. Burnett to end a First Amendment lawsuit the former professor filed after her termination. Burnett lost her job after criticizing former Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter.
In that case, her legal counsel wrote at the time of the settlement, the college had “effectively chosen to concede the lawsuit by offering judgment in favor of Burnett,” although college leaders still publicly deny liability.
Nevertheless, Collin’s apparent purge of faculty critics continues.
Last April, The Chronicle profiled H. Neil Matkin, the college’s controversial president. Matkin, who enjoys strong support from some Republican state lawmakers, has dismissed the dangers of Covid-19, and some former and current employees say the president quashes any form of faculty dissent, while pushing out employees who dare to challenge his authority.