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Collin College history professor Phillips discusses First Amendment concerns in contemporary academia

Collin College has announced its decision to not renew Phillips' contract, which expires in May.
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Collin College has announced its decision to not renew Phillips' contract, which expires in May.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization that has defended both conservative and liberal academics, is providing legal representation for Phillips in a lawsuit against Collin College that was announced March 8.

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  • A prominent civil liberties group is suing Collin College over its dismissal of history professor Michael Phillips. This week, the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education announced a suit against Collin College based on allegations that the school violated Phillips’ First Amendment rights.

  • Last September, administrators told Phillips he had violated school policy by suggesting that students consider wearing masks as a precaution against COVID-19. Phillips learned in January that his contract would not be renewed. Administrators had previously reprimanded Phillips for speaking as a subject expert to media organizations.

  • Phillips is the third former Collin College instructor to sue the school recently over free speech issues. Former history professor Lora Burnett recently agreed to accept $70,000 in damages to end her suit against the school. Former Collin College education professor Suzanne Jones has an active lawsuit against the school. All three scholars said they butted heads with school administrators over Collin College’s COVID-19 policy, among other issues.

  • "This is the first time (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) has represented multiple professors against a single college and its president at the same time, and we look forward to proving that Collin College’s actions are egregiously unconstitutional in court," Phillips told The Texas Tribune.