WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The University of North Carolina Wilmington on Monday announced that controversial professor Mike Adams will retire on Aug. 1.
According to a statement posted on the university’s Facebook page, the decision comes after Adams, in light of public attention generated by comments he made on his social media accounts, had a meeting with Chancellor Jose Sartarelli.
“We will have no further comment on this matter at this time, but we plan to share an update later this week regarding how we hope to move forward as a university community,” the statement reads.
Adams, the embattled professor who teaches sociology and criminology at UNCW and works as a columnist for The Daily Wire and Town Hall, has made national headlines before for his polarizing statements involving race, gender, and sexual orientation, but his comments on the COVID-19 shut down in North Carolina and violent protests over George Floyd’s death outraged many and amplified calls for his ouster.
In a May 29 Twitter post, Adams wrote, “This evening, I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top. I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go!”
Many saw the use of the racially insensitive slave master term as offensive and demanded that he be fired by the university.
Adams previously defended his post to WECT, saying the slave master analogy he was making had to do with the Governor’s oppression during the shutdown, not race.
While UNCW has expressed regret over Adams’ comments over the years, he has not been disciplined.
In a prior statement about Adams’ Twitter posts, a UNCW spokesperson called them “hateful, hurtful language aimed at degrading others” and is “contrary to our university values” but said, “no matter how upsetting and distasteful the comments may be, they are expressions of free speech and protected by the First Amendment.”
The university attempted to deny Adams tenure in 2006, but ended up getting sued for discriminating against Adams’ protected speech. They ultimately lost the lawsuit and gave Adams the promotion in question. The lawsuit cost UNCW hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Some of Adams’ colleagues in UNCW’s Sociology and Criminology Department released the following statement regarding Monday’s announcement.
“We are glad that the matter is resolved so that we can turn our attentions to the core values of our department which involve offering faculty and students a respectful space for research and learning; built on healthy dialogues, community engagement, humility, and respect. Of course, we as a University still have institutional work to do so that students and faculty know that they are in an environment which respects and values the diverse world we all live in.”