Florida Atlantic University officially relinquished its long-held, undisputed title as America’s Worst University this week — likely to the University of Missouri — by finally firing James Tracy, the wackadoodle professor who denies the reality of many mass shootings including the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting as well as 2013 Boston Bombing.
Tracy, a tenured professor and one-time labor union leader, provided the last straw by feuding with the parents of a six-year-old boy who was murdered at Sandy Hook by Adam Lanza. He sent a certified letter to the grief-stricken parents demanding proof their son existed.
The communications professor also broke a school rule, the school says, by failing to notify Florida Atlantic of the considerable time and effort he has spent in his mission to debunk the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax.
Officials at the taxpayer-funded Florida Atlantic delivered a letter to Tracy on Tuesday officially informing him of his termination, reports the Sun-Sentinel, a major South Florida newspaper.
On Dec. 16, FAU officials notified Tracy of his impending termination and gave him a brief fixed period to contest it. (RELATED: America’s Worst University Set To Ax Nutty Professor)
“You were advised that you had 10 days in which to respond in writing. You have not responded,” vice provost wrote Diane Alperin in her missive to Tracy this week.
Bureaucrats at FAU at last found themselves stirred to take action against Tracy after Veronique and Lenny Pozner, the parents of six-year-old boy Noah Pozner, penned an essay in The Forward detailing what they describe as constant harassment by Tracy and other deranged people who question their son’s death.
“It’s been three years since we last embraced our precious little boy, Noah,” the Pozners explained. “At six-years-old, he was the youngest child murdered at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.”
According to the Pozners, Tracy sent a certified letter to them demanding proof that Noah existed. He also questioned their rights to a photo of their son.
“Tracy is among those who have personally sought to cause our family pain and anguish by publicly demonizing our attempts to keep cherished photos of our slain son from falling into the hands of conspiracy theorists,” the parents said.
“Tracy has enjoyed tremendous success from this exposure and has since leveraged it into a popular Internet blog and radio program,” the Pozners write. “It cannot be denied that Tracy has carved out a significant presence in the same Sandy Hook ‘hoax’ conspiracy movement that has inspired a wave of harassment, intimidation and criminal activity against our family and others.”
[dcquiz] Tracy, who joined the Florida Atlantic faculty in 2002, will likely appeal his sacking in some venue that differs from the normal process at the school for termination appeals.
A professors’ labor union, the United Faculty of Florida, is representing the conspiracy-loving professor.
“There’s a lot of stuff people aren’t aware of that I can’t speak to right now,” faculty union president Robert Zoeller told the Sun-Sentinel. “If I did, it would violate Dr. Tracy’s rights.”
A spokeswoman for Tom Johnson, Tracy’s attorney, suggested that a yet-to-be-filed civil lawsuit is in the works.
Tracy’s last day will be Friday. He won’t teach the three courses he was scheduled to teach during the upcoming semester.
Tracy originally took to his personal blog, Memory Hole, in January 2013 to marshal a complex conspiracy theory to explain the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. (RELATED: Public University Professors Join Ranks Of Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theorists)
He suggested that a mélange of federal agencies, state agencies and major media outlets framed Lanza as a lone, methodical gunman. He posited that several additional people were possibly involved, and that the Sandy Hook shooting could have been constructed to increase public support for gun control.
“After such a harrowing event why are select would-be family members and students lingering in the area and repeatedly offering themselves for interviews?” Tracy wrote, among much other bile. “A possible reason is that they are trained actors working under the direction of state and federal authorities and in coordination with cable and broadcast network talent to provide tailor-made crisis acting that realistically drives home the event’s tragic features.”
In April 2013, Tracy again took to Memory Hole to question official accounts of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings. He argued that the amount of damage captured on video could not be reconciled with the homemade bombs that authorities say caused the damage. The tenured professor and one-time union leader called the Boston bombing “a mass-casualty drill, which for training purposes are designed to be as lifelike as possible.”
To this day, Tracy’s blog continues to be a fever swamp of cuckoo, tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories suggesting that various events involving the deaths of many Americans have been elaborate simulations orchestrated by nefarious government forces.
The blog’s current feature entry, dated Jan. 7, discusses a “feature-length documentary” about Lanza which, its creators believe, shows “discrepancies” in his life suggesting he was not a psycho killer.
An entry just below that laments Tracy’s sacking but hails him as a sage with great moral influence. “James Tracy’s job as an academician may be over, but his authority has never faltered in the public sphere where the true sources of political and moral authority are found,” it says.
An entry dated Dec. 17, 2015, is entitled “THE SAN BERNARDINO SHOOTING – What Really Happened Behind The Scenes?” It suggests that this month’s jihadist terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. that killed 14 people was a staged, “whitewashed” event.
“Unfortunately, we’re told that the suspects are dead, and therefore no longer available for cross examination,” the December 2015 blog post says.
In September, Tracy speculated at Memory Hole that the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in September could also have been an elaborate hoax. (RELATED: Bizarro Professor Spouts Navy Yard Conspiracy Theory)
In 2013, FAU officials admonished Tracy for insufficiently distancing his conspiracy-laden blog ravings from the public school, reports Inside Higher Ed.
At that time, the “About” section of his Memory Hole blog proudly declared that he is a Florida Atlantic professor. “All items published herein represent the views of James Tracy and are not representative of or condoned by Florida Atlantic University or the State University System of Florida,” it said.
The “About” section currently states: “The site is maintained by James F. Tracy. Tracy is a media scholar, educator and political analyst located in South Florida.” A disclaimer says the site’s gush of bizarre ravings “do not reflect the opinions or positions of any institution or entity.”
The FAU Academic Affairs Faculty Handbook states: “A faculty member’s activities which fall outside the scope of employment shall constitute misconduct only if such activities adversely affect the legitimate interests of the University.”
The Pozner parents said this rule provides a foundation for sacking Tracy.
“There is ample evidence to demonstrate that his extracurricular misconduct has already adversely affected FAU’s reputation and will continue doing so as long as he continues down this path,” they wrote.
Tracy framed attempts by Florida Atlantic officials as an attack on his right to free speech.
“I think what this really involves is a matter of free speech,” he told New York Daily News. “All I’ve done is to delve into the Sandy Hook event. I think the work I’ve done stands up.”
On his Facebook page, called Sandy Hook Hoax, Tracy accused the Pozners of attempting “to intimidate my employer into firing me because of the extensive research.”
Florida Atlantic has a long, sordid history of awfulness.
In March 2013, the administration tried to punish a student who expressed discomfort with another professor’s assignment to stomp on a piece of paper bearing the word “Jesus.” (RELATED: Florida Atlantic issues new groveling apology over Jesus-stomping)
The professor, non-tenured communications instructor Deandre Poole, was placed on administrative leave but he got his job back, teaching online courses. (RELATED: FAU Professor In Jesus-Stomping Controversy Reinstated)
In July 2013, the public, taxpayer-funded university adopted a draconian “Free Speech and Campus Civility” policy forbidding all kinds of speech and expression that is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (and Florida’s state constitution). “Everyone in the FAU community” must “behave and speak to and about one another in ways that are not racist, religiously intolerant or otherwise degrading to others,” the policy warned. (RELATED: Florida Atlantic University Is Still The Worst Place In America To Attend College)
In 2014, officials at taxpayer-funded FAU reportedly required students to declare how much sex they’ve had (including oral sex) and how many sexual partners they’ve had in the last few months in order to register for courses. (RELATED: America’s Worst University Now Demands To Know Students’ Sex Habits OR THEY CAN’T ENROLL)
In October 2013, officials at the public school summoned Dylan Bouscher, then the editor-in-chief of FAU’s University Press student newspaper, on disciplinary charges for practingroutine journalism. Bouscher’s alleged crime was to attempt to gather information for a story at the site of a suicide on FAU’s Boca Raton campus. (RELATED: America’s Worst University Now Punishes Student Journalist For Practicing Journalism)
In April 2013, FAU officials announced that the school would bow to student pressure and scrap a $6 million agreement to name its football stadium after GEO Group, a for-profit prison company. During a protest over that fracas, Mary Jane Saunders, FAU’s then-president, hit a student protester with the side mirror of her Lexus. The protesters were reportedly harassing Saunders and attempting to block her exit.
Also in April 2014, former U.S. Rep. Allen West angrily took to Facebook and Twitter because FAU students had harassed his wife, Angela Graham-West, who is a trustee at the school.