On Friday, April 20th, Dr. Gavin Clarkson, a business-law professor and former Trump administration official, received notice of an adverse ruling regarding New Mexico State University’s attempt to cancel his leave of absence or make it impossible for him to continue his campaign for the Republican nomination for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District seat.
NMSU’s Friday the 13th hearing the week before had, according to Clarkson, “all of the expected horrors of a fundamentally flawed process tainted by transparently partisan and political considerations.”
“Conservative academics are an endangered species these days, especially if they’re Christians or they oppose abortion,” Clarkson said. “It is even worse if you are conservative and from a community that the left assumes to be monolithically liberal. If you are black and conservative, the left labels you an ‘Uncle Tom.’ If you are a tribal member and conservative, they call you a ‘Clarence Tomahawk.’”
The Provost, a partisan Democrat, and the General Counsel, a partisan Democrat, initiated the process of cancelling Dr. Clarkson’s leave and attempting to terminate his position four days after he announced his candidacy for Congress.
The written leave agreement is valid, however, through January 2020, contends Clarkson, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and the first tribal member to ever earn a doctorate from the Harvard Business School. The relevant university regulation, ARP §8-53-G, states that all conditions of professional leave without pay must be in writing prior to the beginning of the leave period.
The hearing officer is also a partisan Democrat who reports to the Provost on a daily basis, which, Clarkson noted as “a fundamental conflict of interest” at the beginning of the hearing.
Although the Provost admitted under oath that nothing in the leave document allowed the Provost to unilaterally cancel the leave, the hearing officer nonetheless upheld the Provost’s proposed termination. The hearing officer did not apply the appropriate standard for burden of proof Clarkson says, nor did he apply it against the correct party, which should have been NMSU. The opinion itself ignored the plain text of the document and instead engaged in what Clarkson characterized as “contract by inference and anecdote” as opposed to the rule of law.
Despite ruling against Dr. Clarkson and in favor of a direct superior, the hearing officer nevertheless found NMSU’s conduct troubling, saying NMSU’s “communication with Dr. Clarkson has been antagonistic, especially at the Department and College levels, with limited attempts to seek mutual understanding and establish a positive protocol of communication and interaction.”
Clarkson intends to appeal the decision and push forward in his congressional bid.
“Most stories in conservative media focus on persecution of conservative students and absurd examples of political correctness, America bashing, and the odd sexual obsessions of far-left faculty, but there actually are some pro-life, Christian conservative, Republican college professors out there swimming against the tide of actual intolerance. Especially in the age of Trump, whose administration I am proud to have served in, even the cliched pretenses of tolerance are out the window with the academic establishment. You must bow down and offer incense or you will be thrown to the lions. The gloves are off, and anything to do with Trump is verboten. No more “discourse of ideas,” no more “plurality of opinions” rhetoric, just plain, raw power. That’s what these people are really about.”
Learn more about Clarkson’s campaign by clicking here.