Eastman will retire immediately
John Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University, rebutted attempts from more than 160 faculty members to get him fired after he spoke at a “Save America” rally on January 6 in D.C.
However, while he told The College Fix on Tuesday that the accusations against him were “defamatory” and “unfounded,” he ultimately agreed to retire in an announcement made late Wednesday night.
“After discussions over the course of the last week, Dr. John Eastman and Chapman University have reached an agreement pursuant to which he will retire from Chapman, effective immediately,” the university announced in a news release. “Dr. Eastman’s departure closes this challenging chapter for Chapman and provides the most immediate and certain path forward for both the Chapman community and Dr. Eastman.”
“Chapman and Dr. Eastman have agreed not to engage in legal actions of any kind, including any claim of defamation that may currently exist, as both parties move forward,” university president Daniele Struppa said in the statement.
Eastman has also been criticized by faculty at the university for his legal work in support of President Trump’s election lawsuits.
The event occurred as part of the “Save America March” that highlighted voter integrity issues surrounding the 2020 presidential election.
“Without bothering to check with me about the evidence I have to support every statement I made, some members of the Chapman faculty simply made scurrilous, defamatory, and unfounded claims that my statements had no basis in law or fact,” Eastman said via email to The College Fix on January 12.
Professors at the private California university said that Eastman’s actions “helped incite a riot” and “disqualify him from the privilege of teaching law to Chapman,” according to a letter published on January 9 in the Los Angeles Times.
The full version of the letter only includes an endorsement from one law professor, Bobby Dexter. Many of the other signers come from the English, dance, film and food science departments.
Prior to the Wednesday announcement, the university appeared ready to keep Eastman at the school.
Amy Stevens, a spokesperson for the university, referred The Fix earlier this week to two statements from the administration.
“The [Faculty] Manual allows for the termination of faculty who are found guilty of a felony, however, that is not the case today,” university President Daniele Struppa said on January 9. “The Manual allows for the termination of faculty who are disbarred, however, that is not the case today. The Manual does not allow me to decide on my own that any faculty is a criminal or that they should be disbarred and therefore fired, which is what I am being asked to do.”
Struppa had said on January 8 that “Eastman’s actions are in direct opposition to the values and beliefs of our institution.”
“He has now put Chapman in the position of being publicly disparaged for the actions of a single faculty member, and for what many call my failure to punish and fire him,” the university president said.
Lisa Leitz, one of the professors listed on the letter to the editor, did not respond to an emailed request on Tuesday from The Fix for comment on the decision not to fire Eastman.
Faculty members and student activists have condemned Eastman before for his activism and legal work.
In December, 159 faculty members criticized Eastman for filing an amicus brief relating to the election. The brief came in support of a request by the state of Texas for the Supreme Court to intervene on voter integrity issues in other states.
Eastman says he did not incite anyone
Eastman spoke for nearly three minutes at the rally, where he called on Vice President Mike Pence to allow the legislators of several “contested” states to look into claims of voter fraud.
“We saw it happen in real-time last night [during the Georgia Senate run-offs], and it happened on November 3rd as well,” Eastman said at the rally.
“And all we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at 1:00 he let the legislators of the state look into this, so we get to the bottom of it, and the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government, or not.”
“My first statement at the rally was that election officials in a number of states had violated state law in the conduct of the election,” Eastman told The Fix. “That is a fact, and well-cited at length in briefs I filed in the Supreme Court of the United States.”
“The other claim, that votes were manipulated by machines, is supported by a forensic analysis conducted [in Antrim County, Michigan] as well as extensive expert statistical analysis,” Eastman said.
“The claims made against me are thus defamatory,” the law professor said.
He further explained the problems with saying that he incited violence.
“As for the rally itself, it is also false that the speeches ‘incited’ the thugs at the Capitol. The breach of the Capitol began before the speeches on the Ellipse – nearly two miles away – concluded,” Chapman said. “Evidence is still being gathered, but the initial instigators of the breach and subsequent violence and vandalism appear to have been members of the thuggish organization, Antifa.”
One Chapman University student told The Fix that the whole controversy is a distraction.
Samantha Callaci told The Fix via Facebook messaging that she is “apathetic to the whole thing.”
“I’m more concerned with the nation, with the riots and the protesting” and division from “both sides,” Callaci said. “While I’m watching the news unfold about the events in DC, social media, and the upcoming inauguration Chapman and a Chapman professor are far from my mind.”
Editor’s note: The article and headline have been updated to reflect that the university has reached an agreement with Professor Eastman.