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By Dave Tombers
A discrimination lawsuit has been launched on behalf of Dr. John Oller Jr., a professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette who has gained global recognition as a speaker and has authored hundreds of articles, because he has been targeted by fellow faculty members over his views on creation and intelligent design.
The case is being brought by the Alliance Defense Fund, which explained that Oller repeatedly has been damaged because of the views expressed in his public lectures and published works on communicative disorders, autism causation and intelligent design.
Oller’s lectures and published articles on creation and intelligent design argue that linguistic and genetic complexities don’t happen by chance. He’s been lecturing on this since 1981.
Oller has been asked by the university to join the faculty for the purpose of creating and guiding the Louisiana Board of Regents’ approval of the Communicative Disorders (CODI) Ph.D. program in Applied Language & Speech Sciences (ALSS).
According to the suit, he has efficiently accomplished this task.
Standing in the way, however, are members of his own department who have “engaged in concerted efforts to eliminate his contributions to CODI students at UL.”
They’ve also excluded him from teaching opportunities, while forbidding him to use the textbooks he authored to teach his own classes.
Now his department colleagues have completely removed him from the classroom.
“Despite his stellar academic record, this professor has found himself exiled from participating in the instruction of any department students simply because he holds views that some university officials don’t favor,” says ADF Attorney David Hacker.
“As a result, he has no further recourse but to file this lawsuit to protect his academic freedom,” the claim explains.
“Professors don’t have academic freedom if they are forced to parrot the politically correct party line,” Hacker says.
The suit, filed in the United States District Court, Western District of Louisiana, alleges that fellow faculty members Nancye Roussel, David Barry, and Martin Ball “individually and in their official capacity” have denied academic freedom to Oller, in violation of his First Amendment rights.
“Universities, which are supposed to be a ‘marketplace of ideas,’ are increasingly censoring views that challenge campus orthodoxy,” said Hacker.
“It’s our hope that this lawsuit will vindicate Dr. Oller’s academic freedom while demonstrating the right of professors to pursue the truth without censorship when their academic conclusions don’t match the fashionable consensus,” the ADF statement said.
It explains that one faculty member wrote to a student, “Apparently he [Dr. Oller] doesn’t have much understanding of this issue. Personally, I have found he is quite uninformed and biased in his ideas. Remember, as someone else told you, he is also someone who believes in creationism, in the fact that the world is only several thousands of years old and in the inerrant truth of every word of the Bible…”
Despite receiving the highest reviews from his students, exceeding the averages of the entire college, being a model scholar for 40 years, authoring 16 peer-reviewed published books, and more than 200 peer-reviewed articles in professional books, journals, and encyclopedias, UL faculty members, according to the suit, have attempted to marginalize Oller.
According to the court filing, “Defendants actions have censored Dr. Oller’s speech, precluded him from merit pay increases, damaged his reputation, aggrieved him, and irreparably interfered with and injured his constitutional right to freedom of speech.”
Reached by phone, a representative of UL told WND, “If we make a statement regarding the lawsuit, it will be through the court.”