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Professor who told his class to erase pro-life chalking pays $17,000 to settle lawsuit

UPDATED

Mandatory First Amendment training, too

If you disagree with pro-life student activists, have a civil conversation with them. Especially if you’re a professor at a public university.

Gregory Thatcher agreed to pay $17,000 to such students and their lawyers to settle a First and Fourteenth Amendment lawsuit against the Fresno State University public-health professor, who is legally a “government official.”

Thatcher had sicced his class on the administration-authorized chalking by the Students for Life chapter this spring, falsely claiming the pro-life students could only chalk in a “free speech zone” eliminated years earlier, according to the suit filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom. He also joined in the de-chalking.

The California professor will pay $1,000 each to two student club leaders, Bernadette Tasy and Jesus Herrera, and $15,000 to the alliance for attorneys’ fees, the alliance said Thursday. He’ll also “undergo two hours of First Amendment training by ADF Center for Academic Freedom attorneys.”

The stipulated injunction, approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California Nov. 3, specifies that Thatcher is legally blocked from “interfering with, disrupting, defacing, or altering any future legal expressive activities” by the Students for Life chapter on campus.

He’s also banned from “directing, prompting, or encouraging any other persons” to do the same.

The financial terms and mandatory training aren’t mentioned in the stipulated injunction. Casey Mattox, director of the Center for Academic Freedom, told The College Fix in an email Thursday night that those terms “were all read into the record in open court last week at the settlement conference” Nov. 1, but the transcript has not been published yet.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, issued a warning to “college officials everywhere” not to mess with students’ chalking unless they want to pay to get out of litigation:

Nationwide, we are seeing incredible opposition to the pro-life speech of our student leaders and volunteers as they speak for the defenseless, reach out to pregnant women, and educate on the violence of abortion. But as this case illustrates, we are not going to be silent, even if it takes going to court.

Thatcher remains listed as faculty in the Department of Public Health.

Read the release and stipulated injunction.

UPDATECasey Mattox, director of Center for Academic Freedom, explained to The Fix after this story was published why the financial terms and mandatory training weren’t mentioned in the injunction. The article has been amended accordingly.

MORE: Prof caught on video telling class to erase authorized pro-life chalking

IMAGE: Students for Life of America/YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

Add to the Discussion

  • KeenIncite

    And this is all on top of him being fired, right? If not, then the penalty isn’t severe enough.

  • nonstopca

    FIRE HIM…..

    • Killer Marmot

      Why are people so quick to demand that others get fired? What’s with the lust for blood?

      • Gibson

        Because he is incompetent in his job, shows disrespect to his students, acts like a thug bullying other people and was found to be in the wrong. If this was any real job in the real world he would have been fired immediately. Only in a college bubble does this stuff go on and on without consequences.

        • Killer Marmot

          Well obviously there have been consequences, so you’re wrong there.

          It’s fine to demand better of university faculty. They are letting us down horrendously these days. But try not to hate your opponents so much.

          • Jim Dixon

            Ms. Killer, “Only in a college bubble”, the college did nothing, the court took the action.

          • Killer Marmot

            We don’t know if the college has taken action or not. It was not reported on.

          • Gibson

            Consequences only came because he was sued, not because the school did anything.

          • john Diamond

            hate was the professors agenda, and that is why he should be fired. It is really not as complicated or confusing as you are making it.

          • Killer Marmot

            It’s not at all complicated or confusing.

            Consider an onlooker who is somewhat divided over the story, not being fond of conservatives. The onlooker sees one side acting in a hateful, intolerant, and bullying manner. And the onlooker sees the other side standing up for its rights, but in the end showing forgiveness once their point is made.

            That onlooker might change their mind about their political beliefs, at least in a small way.

            Eyes on the prize.

          • john Diamond

            Freudian projection does not allow one side to disregard the rights of others simply because that individual deems them as verboten. The left used to understand that defending free speech is always about controversial and offensive speech for nobody tries to stop happy talk and agreement. The left once say Larry FLint of Hustler magazine fame ,as a free speech hero, despite his hateful cartoon that Jerry Falwell was having sex with his mother( which started the lawsuit) It is a sad day when I can simply declare anything I disagree with as “hateful” or “intolerant” and then use those condemnations to justify the abridgement of other people’s free speech rights.

          • Killer Marmot

            Yes, I agree. I have written countless postings arguing the same.

            We are only discussing the degree of punishment, not whether Thatcher should be punished. Each side trying to utterly destroy each other’s lives is not productive. A little restraint might go a long way.

          • john Diamond

            ironic that you say so, since a mere modicum of restraint from the Professor would have prevented any talk of repercussions. Since the good Professor could not retrain himself from abridging the free speech rights of others, he fundamentally reveals he should not be a Teacher in any way. Teaching requires honesty and openness, a willingness to discuss ideas freely, even when they disagree with your own perspective. The professor failed the most basic test of what a Teacher should be. I do not think talk of firing the man is extreme or reactionary. It seems appropriate to me. Best regards.

          • Killer Marmot

            It’s not “ironic” to show more forgiveness than the professor did. He might even learn something from it.

            When it comes to individual rights, the goal is not to punish your opponents but to convert them.

          • john Diamond

            you are ignoring the difference in power between the students and the Professor. Think of it like a dirty cop, its a bigger betrayal than just being a crook. Forgiveness is irrelevant when it comes to the abuse of another citzen’s constitutional rights. Your last sentence is an excellent point, however, even you must admit it is applies more directly to the professor and only in an abstract way to the students.

        • Laura

          Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
          On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It Sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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      • BHF ✔Covfefe

        You mean besides his arrogant assumption that he knows everything, fascist actions, abuse of authority, and is trying to train his students to follow in his footsteps? I guess nothing.

      • Because he is a bigot nazi and you know what to do with nazi’s

        • Killer Marmot

          Yes, yes, yes. Everyone’s a Nazi these days. The term is thrown around so loosely it no longer has meaning.

          • Lie to yourself, we are tired of the BS.

          • Bar Dou

            It means something to a Jew hater.

          • Killer Marmot

            So your saying this guy is antisemetic?

          • Bar Dou

            He could be. If he believes in eliminating life, then he believes in the extermination of humans.

      • Bar Dou

        I lust that this sniveling professor gets his ass fired! $17,000 fine is not enough! Besides, anyone who looks like Jerry Brown should be fired. Don’t know why he’s protesting about pro life free speech, No life no students. Duh!

        • TheEndGameIsNear

          He sounds like Mr. Van Driessen..

      • Because he’s fascist and as such shouldn’t be allowed to indoctrinate our children.

      • TheEndGameIsNear

        Why are elite liberal globalists trying to cause a housing crisis and make hard working people homeless?

        What’s with the lust for blood?

        • Killer Marmot

          Don’t ask me. I’m nothing like an “elite liberal globalist”.

      • kkb55

        I’m going out on a limb here (not really) but you’re probably one who supports Judge Moore step down from just forty year old accusations.

        • Killer Marmot

          You’re smart enough to figure out my opinions on any issue except the one I just commented on, so keep your conjectures to yourself.

          • kkb55

            Marmot, I re-read your posts and you’re not making a whole lot of sense. Exactly what is it you’re trying to say?

          • Killer Marmot

            I misstyped my comment.

    • Christine

      Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
      On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It Sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
      !dn131d:
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    • Francine

      Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
      On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It Sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
      !dm7ssd:
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  • Maximus300

    WOW!!!! Good for Students for Life!

  • ConCynic

    Yep, 88% of the settlement goes to the lawyers. Sounds about right.

    • TheEndGameIsNear

      Welp. We still got to set some nice, anti libtart Statute, eh?

  • BHF ✔Covfefe

    Good that he has to personally pay the freight. I expect the lawyers that are owed $15K will get it out of him one way or another. Wish the college had also been made to cough up dough to drive home to them the problem with hiring asshats like this.

    • TheEndGameIsNear

      I am so glad there was no camera phones when I was in college. Dude..

  • Jim Dixon

    This is apparently an over educated “Dumb Apple” who should not be allowed to teach our young people. (“Apple” used as a replacement word as requested by my Granddaughter). Is it legal for a college to restrict free speech to only certain areas? Veterans did you realize that “free speech”, a right which you served to protect, has now been limited to certain to certain areas? What do you say veterans? Call this College President and express your views.

  • It’s all Joe’s fault

    Take that Steelers shirt off you bully, you don’t deserve to wear it.

    How did this guy get a PhD?!

    • Bar Dou

      PhD = Piled Higher and Deeper

  • I want 5 minutes alone with this scumbag, preferably in a dark alley.

  • He should be subjected to a 2 hour fisting session but he’d probably like it too much. Pathetic loser.

  • Julia Tyler

    He was scornful to students, he behaved like what he is; a bully.

    • TheEndGameIsNear

  • Enlightened Doggo

    He supports killing children, so of course he has no problem abusing his power to control speech as well. Extremely satisfying to see _proportional_ justice served. Keep up the good fight!

  • TheEndGameIsNear

    Friggin FLANDERS.

    Or Mr. Van Driessen

  • WalterBannon

    FIRE Fresno State University public health professor Dr. Gregory Thatcher

  • rnagel

    “College is NOT a free speech area” You have got to be kidding? Even if he doesn’t believe in it, he should understand that the free speech area is the entire United States and all its territories. Why do I have the feeling he bootstrapped a facility for writing into a wholly undeserved degree.

  • john Diamond

    Campus Bullies tend to be lefties pretending to be open minded. The University experience is a very negative one if you have conservative values. You WILL be targeted for harassment.