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The University of North Texas settled for $165,000 with a former math instructor who sued it for First Amendment violations. The former instructor, Nathaniel Hiers, wrote on a faculty lounge chalkboard in 2019, “Please don’t leave your garbage lying around” and drew an arrow to a leftover informational brochure about microaggressions. Following this incident, Hiers says that his department chair asked him to apologize, and when Hiers wouldn’t, the chair rescinded classes he’d previously offered Hiers for the upcoming semester. A federal judge green-lit Hiers’s legal case in March.

Hiers’s lawyer, Michael Ross of the Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement, “The First Amendment guarantees Dr. Hiers—and every other American—the right to express his viewpoint without government punishment. We’re pleased to see this case settled favorably not only for Dr. Hiers but also to help protect freedom of speech for every student and teacher at public universities across the country.” The university said in a statement that its focus remains on “students who have chosen to invest their resources in pursuing an excellent education as part of our UNT family.”