South Florida professor says he was fired for ‘indoctrinating students’ by teaching racial justice

Classroom books. (Generic) (Photo by Pixabay)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A longtime professor at a private South Florida university says he was fired for “indoctrinating students” by including a racial justice unit in his syllabus.

West Palm Beach ABC affiliate WPBF reports that Sam Joeckel, an English professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University, was shown the door Wednesday.

Joeckel told the station that he had taught the unit for more than a decade without issues, until a parent complained about the class, prompting the Christian university to investigate and suspend the educator.

Joeckel said he received an outpouring of support from students during his suspension, the station reports, and he’s now considering legal action against the university.

The now-former professor told WPBF that he feared the state’s political climate, specifically as it relates to issues of diversity and equity in education, led to the investigation.

Proposed legislation to crack down on so-called “diversity, equity and inclusion” programs would only apply to Florida’s public universities.

Palm Beach Atlantic University declined WPBF’s request for comment, citing the advice of its legal counsel.

An employment attorney told the station that Florida is an “at-will” employment state and not one “where it’s about fairness or what’s right,” and notes that the college’s employee handbook states that professors can be fired without cause.

About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.