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U. New Mexico investigates professor for ‘retaliation’ after he sues it for kangaroo court

Accuses him of … talking to the media

The University of New Mexico is trying to convince journalists to turn over their sources as it fights a due process lawsuit by a professor it suspended for having a romantic relationship with a graduate student he never supervised.

So far, the journalists are resisting.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the taxpayer-funded institution is “attempting to pry details from reporters about how they gathered information in their stories” about the lawsuit.

The administration launched another investigation into Flor (above) – who is already suspended without pay for a year – after the grad student accused him of retaliation “for allegedly directing the media coverage from behind the scenes,” the newspaper paraphrased Flor’s attorney Nick Hart.

Unlike in Flor’s original lawsuit and Robby Soave’s feature on their relationship for Reason, the Journal names the grad student, Eva Chavez. Thousands of emails and texts reviewed by Soave show that Chavez tried to blackmail the married Flor so he wouldn’t end their (digital) relationship.

MORE: Professor sues UNM for suspending him after student blackmails him

Coverage by Soave, the Journal and syndicated columnist Diane Dimond prompted Chavez to file the second complaint to the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity, according to Hart:

Both the editor who wrote the Reason article and Dimond were contacted by the OEO, and they each declined to answer questions. The Journal was not contacted.

Dimond told the Journal she was asked about how she got reports she referred to in her reporting.

“I firmly and politely asked her if UNM REALLY thought an investigative reporter was going to reveal sources,” Dimond said in an email.

Flor’s amended lawsuit adds Chavez as a defendant by name, accusing her of “malicious abuse of process” and filing false complaints against him and other university officials who did not give Chavez what she wanted. The College Fix has asked Flor’s attorney’s for a copy of the amended lawsuit, which was filed in state court.

The university portrays its queries with journalists as a good-faith attempt to conduct “due diligence.” It is simply “reaching out to any individuals who may have relevant information” but no one is “compelled to participate” in an investigation, spokesperson Cinnamon Blair said.

Hart says Flor, whose punishment includes a ban on other full-time work, was not “talking to the media” or “providing false information to the news publications and that those reporters are biased and are friends of his.”

Read the article.

MOREUNM suspends Nick Flor for attempted blackmail by Eva Chavez

MORE: Northwestern keeps harassing prof for writing about ‘sexual paranoia’

IMAGE: Nick Flor/Twitter

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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.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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