A political science professor and former police officer effectively fired by St. Philip’s College earlier this year after allowing debate on topics such as gender ideology and police brutality has received a $185,000 settlement.
The college’s agreement with Will Moravits also included a neutral job recommendation, and in turn he agreed to not work for any Alamo Colleges District schools in the future, he said. The San Antonio-based St. Philip’s is one of five in the community college district.
Moravits, in an interview last week with The College Fix, said the settlement was reached in September and warded off a federal lawsuit he was prepared to file against the district that alleged its leaders infringed on his constitutionally protected free speech rights and academic freedom.
“Don’t let institutions push you around,” Moravits said. “The constitution is on our side. They are hoping to bully us and make us go away. Stand and fight. This is the future of our country. There are organizations that can help you.”
Moravits was represented by attorneys with the nonprofit Academic Freedom Alliance.
Reached for comment, district spokesperson Kristi Wyatt told The College Fix via email Dec. 19 that officials rely on “internal and mandated investigation processes and, when necessary, mediations and the court system to safeguard rights and facilitate a fair and just outcome.”
She did not respond to specific questions about Moravits.
Moravits is one of two conservative scholars who this year have accused St. Philip’s College of discrimination and suppressing free speech and classroom discussion.
Biologist Johnson Varkey filed over the summer a religious discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the college, alleging administrators fired him for teaching sex is determined by X and Y chromosomes.
Varkey’s case remains unresolved. On Dec. 20, five Texas lawmakers — including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Congressmen Chip Roy and Dan Crenshaw — co-signed a letter to St. Philip’s College President Adena Williams Loston demanding answers, stating they are concerned district leaders “appear to be violating federal and state civil rights laws by rashly and wrongfully terminating employees based on unsubstantiated allegations.”
The letter only addresses Varkey’s case, but Moravits, in his draft complaint, had also accused campus leaders of suspending him, and ultimately firing him through a non-renewal of his contract, based on unsubstantiated allegations from one female student claiming he made rude, offensive and discriminatory comments.
“The supposedly improper thoughts and expressions of Dr. Moravits constituted nothing more than leading a critical class discussion about current controversial issues in American life such as gender ideology, transgender rights, race, and police brutality,” states the draft complaint, a copy of which was provided to The College Fix.
Moravits told The Fix he allowed controversial discussions and debate in his classroom on hot-button topics, and he would argue both sides of any given issue for balance. But the claims that launched the probe, that he made homophobic statements and openly supported policy brutality, were completely fabricated, he said.
For example, Moravits in his 2022 book “The Blue Divide: Policing and Race in America” wrote that police brutality is unacceptable and must be addressed.
Three students in the political science class gave affidavits in support of Moravits, stating the accusations were false.
Moravits’ future employment had been confirmed through spring 2024, and his performance reviews had been complimentary, but administrators let him go in March.
Officials “proved so hostile to free speech and academic freedom that it escorted Dr. Moravits from campus under armed guard. In a sham investigation that followed, the Alamo discovered affirmative evidence that the student’s complaint was based entirely on false accusations. But this did not matter. Alamo promptly called off the investigation and fired Dr. Moravits anyway,” it states.
One of the students who provided an affidavit in support of Moravits, Nathan Marin, told The College Fix in an interview last week that he felt the investigation against his former instructor was biased. Marin had been interviewed by a campus official as part of the investigation.
“It seemed like they were trying to get him on something,” Marin said. “I’m pleased it got settled. They kicked him out based on no evidence, just hearsay.”
Moravits also teaches at Texas State University as a lecturer in political science. He said things are going well for him there and his peers treat him with respect.