Three Professors Lose Their Jobs After Opposing DEI Policies, Say Their Opposition Made Them ‘Targets’

Evan Poellinger | September 7, 2023
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A trio of professors who lost their jobs at three different higher education institutions are claiming that their respective schools targeted them for their opposition to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies. As reported by Fox News, Matthew Garrett, David Richardson, and Johnson Varkey had all been teaching for a decade or more before the three men apparently came under fire from their schools’ administrations for not bending the knee to DEI in the classroom.

In fall of last year, Garrett and a free speech group he had started at Bakersfield College were derided for “racism” after “questioning a racial climate survey during a campus diversity meeting.” Garrett appeared to have a strained relationship with Bakersfield on account of his political opinions which dissented from those of the school administration. He had previously drawn the ire of the school board for “unilaterally changing a planned online event to a face-to-face format” in the midst of COVID, accused the school of offering a course which “presents as openly partisan training for children” and “that Bakersfield College staff are trying to quiet him.”

Apparently, Bakersfield College made the decision to make Garrett’s accusations true and silence him permanently.

He claimed he was then given an unprofessional conduct notice before he was terminated in May. Garrett has continued battling in the courts to get his job back, while placing blame on the DEI policies, arguing they are a means for “narrowing the pool to the people they really want” in academia to those who “have the same viewpoints.”

Richardson and Varkey both had similar experiences. Richardson was suspended from Madera Community College in spring of 2022 after “bringing anti-woke chocolate bars mocking pronouns to a campus event.” A colleague took issue with his choice of candy, resulting in his subsequent suspension. Richardson has joined a lawsuit brought by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) against California’s community colleges over diversity requirements that “‘eliminate’ diversity of viewpoint and create a chilling effect on free speech.”

Varkey, meanwhile, was fired from St. Philip’s College in January after teaching in his Biology course that sex is determined by X and Y chromosomes. After students walked out of his course, St. Philip’s College deemed Varkey’s espousal of general biological principles “religious” and ordered his termination. Varkey has since filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on grounds of religious discrimination.

While Madera Community College and St. Philip’s College did not respond to Fox News’ requests for comment, the Kern Community College District, which includes Bakersfield College, told Fox that Garrett was “repeatedly warned” that “his unprofessional conduct was violating code and disrupting campus” prior to his termination, without specifying what Garrett’s “disrupting” entailed.

It seems that the only thing Garrett and his colleagues are getting in trouble for “disrupting” is disruption of the inculcation of DEI into higher education.