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University refuses to rehire math professor who criticized slavery reparations

Saint Joseph’s University will not renew its contract with math Professor Gregory Manco despite the fact that a three-month investigation into his Twitter history found he had not violated any campus policies.

Manco has been a non-tenured assistant professor of math at Saint Joseph’s since 2005 and also a volunteer assistant baseball coach, but tweets in February criticizing slavery reparations and racial bias training had prompted the probe even though he used an anonymous account.

He was put on administrative leave during the probe. Its outcome, announced in May, determined Manco could not be found guilty of violating any policies, citing “insufficient evidence.”

Saint Joseph’s University told The College Fix that the decision not to renew Manco’s contract was transactional and based on the needs of the university.

“The University evaluates academic staffing needs each year and awards or renews contracts to visiting professors on an as-needed basis,” spokesperson Gail Benner told The College Fix. “A non-renewal does not affect an individual’s eligibility for future employment opportunities with the University.”

While the investigation was underway, a petition supporting Manco “from cancel culture” had garnered more than 1,000 signatures.

Manco, for his part, told The College Fix this week that he is talking to his lawyer and hopes to appeal the decision and continue teaching at Saint Joseph’s.

“I never should have been investigated for my contractually protected extramural speech,” he and, “I surely should not have been pulled out of the classroom for 11 weeks on top of it.”

Manco said he worries that the dispute will harm his professional reputation and remains convinced the decision was politically motivated.

“The very fact that I am non-tenured makes it even more important that they be extra careful not destroying my reputation,” he said. “A tenured person can at least put his life back together while going back to his guaranteed job.”

“But for the University to subject me to this, and THEN show me the door for what is claimed to be an unrelated reason? How exactly do I explain to a prospective employer why I have no student evaluations in my last full time semester?”

He said he wants answers.

“All the facts need to come out about this — who started it, why they did it, and how — so that no one else is subjected to the nonsense I had to endure,” Manco told The Fix.

“Our handbook allows for appeals when contract non-renewals are influenced by violations of academic freedom or other policies. I can do that,” he said. “There are bigger issues, separate from what will be addressed in the appeal. I have a good lawyer and can assure you that they will ultimately be resolved.”

The situation began due to three tweets from his anonymous Twitter account, “South Jersey Giants.”

In one, Manco compared slavery reparations to the great-great-grandchild of a murder victim asking the perpetrator’s great-great-grandchild for compensation. In the second, he argued racial bias training “divides us and *worsens* race relations.”

In the third, he responded, “Yet here you still are” to a woman who said that black people and Native Americans “have been hurt horribly” in America.

MORE: Faculty ask university to rehire professor

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About the Author
Tyler Hummel -- Flashpoint College Chicago