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Lightning Rod Professor Found Dead

July 27, 2020

Mike Adams, whom the University of North Carolina at Wilmington recently paid $504,000 to retire, was found dead at home last week from an apparent gunshot wound, Port City Daily reported. Sheriffs went to Adams’s house after a friend of his requested a welfare check, according to 911 records obtained by Port City Daily. The friend reportedly said that Adams had been “erratic” due to stress and that he had firearms in his home. No formal cause of death has been released.

Adams was due to retire Aug. 1, in accordance with his agreement with UNC Wilmington. The late professor of sociology and criminal justice had a long history of offending students and colleagues with his public statements. He most recently railed against COVID-19-related state shutdowns and some protests for police reform. In May, for example, he tweeted this criticism of Democratic governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina: “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 a slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go.” Adams condemned the police officers who killed George Floyd while calling rioters “thugs.”

Adams took UNC Wilmington to court in 2007 for allegedly denying him a promotion over his views and eventually won $50,000 in back pay and a $9,000 raise in 2014, according to Star News Online. Police are investigating his death but do not immediately suspect foul play.

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Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

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