A Chicago law professor who was suspended and forced to undergo diversity training after using redacted racist and sexist slurs in a test question about a hypothetical instance of discrimination in the workplace has filed a First Amendment suit against his employer.

Jason Kilborn, a law professor at the University of Illinois Chicago, filed the suit Thursday in partnership with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), claiming the punishment doled out by the institution last year was unconstitutional.  

‘The only thing that will hold UIC accountable for its unconstitutional actions is a lawsuit,’ Kilborn stated in the suit. ‘FIRE’s Faculty Legal Defense Fund gave me the strong medicine of real legal action, and UIC has given me no choice but to use it.’  

Jason Kilborn, a law professor at the University of Illinois Chicago, filed the suit Thursday in partnership with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

Jason Kilborn, a law professor at the University of Illinois Chicago, filed the suit Thursday in partnership with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

Jason Kilborn, a law professor at the University of Illinois Chicago, filed the suit Thursday in partnership with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

Kilborn’s filing comes more than a year after the institution suspended and launched an investigation into the educator after he posed a hypothetical question in a December 2020 exam chronicling illegal discrimination in the workplace, that used two censored slurs.

The question, according to Kilborn’s suit, referenced a plaintiff being called ‘a “n****r’ – a profane expression for a black person – and ‘b***h’, as hypothetical examples of discrimination.

The slurs themselves were not fully spelled out. Instead, they were displayed by only their first letters, ‘n’ and ‘b.’ Kilborn stated that he had used that same question in previous years.

But despite keeping the words censored, Kilborn soon became embroiled in a heated controversy at the Chicago public school, after a petition was launched against the educator calling for his dismissal, due to the contents of the question.  

'The only thing that will hold UIC accountable for its unconstitutional actions is a lawsuit,' Kilborn stated in the suit

'The only thing that will hold UIC accountable for its unconstitutional actions is a lawsuit,' Kilborn stated in the suit

‘The only thing that will hold UIC accountable for its unconstitutional actions is a lawsuit,’ Kilborn stated in the suit

Weeks later, after an internal investigation, UIC suspended Kilborn and ordered he undergo a five-week diversity training regimen in order to return to the classroom, according to the Thursday filing.

However, Kilborn says the university later backtracked and told him he would instead have to complete months-long ‘training on classroom conversations that address racism.’ 

UIC’s inquiry led to additional complaints that Kilborn had used racially insensitive language in classroom discussions, such as an instance when he allegedly called African-American students at the college ‘cockroaches,’ which Kilborn denies.   

Regarding the exam question, Kilborn said that he voluntarily sent an apology letter to his upset students, but was placed on ‘indefinite administrative leave’ during last year’s spring semester, barred from stepping foot on campus and participating in remote school activities.

Kilborn eventually reached a shortlived resolution with UIC in July, in which the educator had agreed to alert the dean before responding to student complaints about racial issues and to audio-record his classes. 

As part of that resolution, Kilborn and the university reached an understanding that the professor would not have to attend sensitivity training.  

However, in November, under pressure from UIC’s Black Law Students Association and Jesse Jackson over the controversy, UIC backtracked on its agreement with Kilborn, ordering the legal eagle to participate in the months-long training sessions, and compelling him to write reflection papers before he can return to the teaching. 

One such meeting with the Black Law Students Association allegedly went on for four hours, Kilborn’s suit reveals.

According to the filing, after the meeting, one of the students in the org met with the dean – along with several other students – and falsely claimed ‘that [Kilborn] had told them that he “was feeling homicidal” or “would become homicidal”‘ due to the controversy. 

What’s more, the suit attests that training materials Kilborn was provided during the anti-discrimination sessions starting in November included one of the same redacted slurs that the used in his test question.

‘UIC crucifies Kilborn for using a redacted slur, then turns around and forces him into anti-racism training that uses that same slur,’ said Ronnie London, head of FIRE’s Faculty Legal Defense Fund. ‘Kilborn is effectively showing up to re-education and being handed his own text.’

‘By requiring Kilborn to submit to ideological re-education, not only has UIC violated his right to academic freedom, but it has also gone back on its original agreement with Kilborn.

‘Kilborn did nothing wrong to begin with, but UIC has done everything wrong,’ added Wayne Giampietro, Kilborn’s attorney. ‘UIC has proved itself to be both illiberal and disingenuous, and it’s past time to follow through on our threat of legal action.’  

Kilborn's filing comes more than a year after the University of Illinois Chicago (pictured) suspended and launched an investigation into the educator after he posed a hypothetical question in a December 2020 exam chronicling illegal discrimination in the workplace, that used two censored slurs

Kilborn's filing comes more than a year after the University of Illinois Chicago (pictured) suspended and launched an investigation into the educator after he posed a hypothetical question in a December 2020 exam chronicling illegal discrimination in the workplace, that used two censored slurs

Kilborn’s filing comes more than a year after the University of Illinois Chicago (pictured) suspended and launched an investigation into the educator after he posed a hypothetical question in a December 2020 exam chronicling illegal discrimination in the workplace, that used two censored slurs

‘Without communicating with [Kilborn] or any other person with firsthand knowledge,’ the suit states, ‘the BTAT authorized the law school dean to take the most extreme measures.’

The lawsuit names the university as a defendant, citing counts of illegal misconduct, including first, fifth, and fourteenth amendment violations, a violation of the the school’s statutes, and a violation of Illinois’ Violence Prevention Plan.

Kilborn, UIC, and FIRE did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment regarding the lawsuit.

Source: Daily Mail

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