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Collin College Prof Fired over Speech Lands at SMU

Historians in the News
tags: Texas, academic freedom, Collin College



After more than a year of controversy over allegations of free speech violations between Phillips and college administrators, Phillips said he was fired by the school in May. His contract was not renewed, despite years of student and peer approval, ongoing scholarship, and honors earned from other historians.

For fourteen years, Michael Phillips taught American history at Collin College, focusing on the years after the Civil War. He’s considered an expert on Southwestern history and the history of racism. His 2006 book, White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, 1841-2001, is used in various college history classes.

Phillips expresses his left-leaning views publicly on social media and says that's his right under the First Amendment. His views do not represent those of Collin College and he’s never said otherwise.

But the school has taken offense over some of Phillips’s public comments.

-The professor co-authored a letter to the Dallas Morning News advocating the removal of Confederate monuments. He signed the letter with his name, title, and college. The school worried he was representing the college and would make them look bad.

- Administrators objected again when he was quoted in a Washington Post article about the Texas gunman who drove to El Paso and killed 23 people at a Walmart in a largely Hispanic community. The shooting was labeled a hate crime. The student had attended Collin College. Phillips was quoted as an expert on racism.

- Phillips further antagonized his employer when he joined others demanding stricter safety measures in the height of the pandemic. Neil Matkin, the president of the Collin College system, at the time downplayed the severity of Covid-19. The college reopened to in-person learning sooner than many.

Read entire article at KERA

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