BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) - With a background of red, white and blue American flags and balloons, the controversial conservative scholar Dr. John Eastman announced he intends to sue the University of Colorado.
"I am taking this step to vindicate my own constitutional rights to freedom of speech and due process," he announced on Thursday to a group of several dozen people. His attorneys said the suit will seek $2 million in damages.
Eastman was paid $185,000 for a year as a visiting scholar on conservative thought at the Benson Center for Western Civilization at the Boulder campus. His teaching classes and outreach programs were canceled after the January 6th Washington event.
The university said the classes were cut due to low enrollment. Eastman believes it's because of his views.
"Was Joe Biden rightfully elected?" CBS4'S Rick Sallinger asked Eastman.
Eastman replied, "I don't believe so, but we are still trying to do audits."
Eastman's article claiming the now vice president was not a natural born U.S. citizen because her parents were non-citizens brought strong push back.
"You said that Kamala Harris wasn't qualified to be vice president?" Sallinger asked.
"I did," Eastman answered.
Eastman represented then President Donald Trump in attempts to overturn election results. He also spoke at the January 6th rally before the storming of the U.S. Capitol. That brought accusations from university leaders that he fanned the flames.
"What is your feeling about the incursion on the Capitol?" Sallinger asked Eastman.
"Well, the incursion was terrible," Eastman replied.
The University issued a statement saying, "Professor Eastman is able to speak on any subject he wishes and pursue his scholarship." And that his continued performance of his Benson Center duties would "likely cause disruption and harm to the center."
The announcement of the filing of a notice of intent to sue came on what would have been Dr. Eastman's final day teaching this semester. Instead, his message is "see you in court."
Here is the full statement from the University of Colorado Boulder Campus:
"The campus's decisions regarding Professor Eastman were made in accordance with its university policies concerning freedom of expression and academic freedom. Consistent with First Amendment principles and the university's policies, Professor Eastman is able to speak on any subject he wishes and pursue his scholarship. The university has taken no action that would deter a reasonable person from engaging in free speech, and Professor Eastman continues to express his views in writing, John Eastman's Statement on His Retirement from Chapman University's Fowler School of Law - The American Mind, on television, Now-Retired Law Professor John Eastman Says His Words at Trump's 'Save America' Rally Did Not Incite U.S. Capitol Siege (msn.com), and at in-person events, What Really Happened? An Insider's Perspective on Representing the President and Claims of Election Fraud. The university, however, is not constitutionally obligated to have him serve in a representational capacity when he exercises his right to free speech. Professor Eastman was not suspended. The College of Arts & Sciences canceled his spring courses for low enrollment in accordance with its policies. Provost Moore appropriately relieved him from performing outreach functions on behalf of the Benson Center, because his continued performance of those duties would likely cause disruption and harm to the center."
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