Settlement announced in lawsuit against the NC Governor’s School

A fired professor will get four years of his annual stipend and the school will implement a faculty speech policy

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RALEIGH — A settlement has been reached in the case brought by a professor terminated by the North Carolina Governor’s School.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), in a statement, said it had successfully settled the lawsuit on behalf of David Phillips, a professor who alleged he was fired in 2021 for criticizing the use of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and social justice activity at North Carolina Governor’s School.

Phillips, an English professor, also claimed students and faculty had been hostile toward him following lectures he gave that criticized CRT while advocating for viewpoint diversity.

“Teachers shouldn’t be fired for fostering intellectual diversity on campus. A good education includes providing students with a wide range of differing viewpoints to explore,” ADF senior counsel Hal Frampton said in a press release.

As part of the settlement, Phillips will get approximately four years of his annual stipend and the school will implement a policy to uphold faculty free speech in elective seminars, such as those Phillips taught before his dismissal.

With the settlement reached, ADF voluntarily dismissed the case, with co-counsel Anthony Biller representing Phillips.

“Dr. Phillips was beloved, respected, and well-regarded by both students and faculty as an advocate for students who felt that their voices weren’t being heard and their perspectives weren’t welcomed at the Governor’s School,” Frampton said. “We’re pleased to favorably settle this case on his behalf. Now, the Governor’s School’s policy rightly respects teachers’ freedom of speech, which greatly benefits all students and families.”

According to the 2022 lawsuit, Phillips’ firing came after he made remarks about “the harms of the racially divisive ideology embraced by the school.”

Following the lawsuit’s filing, N.C. State Superintendent Catherine Truitt sent a letter to legislators addressing the issue and refuting some of Phillips’ claims about why he was fired.

In March 2023, N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein filed a motion to dismiss the case with eight supporting reasons, including the failure to “state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”

About A.P. Dillon 1293 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_