Collin College in Texas settled with and reinstated a former professor who sued it for violation of her free speech rights. Collin revoked the three-year contract extension it granted to Suzanne Jones, a longtime professor of education, in early 2021, citing her lack of support for the college’s mission. Jones said she was told that she’d erred in criticizing the college’s COVID-reopening plan and by allowing the college’s name to appear on the website for the Texas Faculty Association website, which she did not control. She also suspected she was being retaliated against for participating in the campus TFA advocacy chapter. Two other professors said they’d been effectively fired in violation of their free speech rights around the same time as Jones. Collin agreed in January to pay one of them $70,000.
Jones’s settlement includes a two-year, $230,000 teaching contract and $145,000 in attorneys’ fees. She plans to return to teaching, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, which represented Jones in her lawsuit. Greg H. Greubel, a lawyer with FIRE, said in a statement, “This is a huge victory—not only for Suzanne, but for every single professor around the country who hesitates to speak up because an administrator wants to silence them. Censorship is un-American.”
Collin said in a statement Jones will teach exclusively as part of iCollin, Collin’s virtual campus, through 2025, as part of the settlement. The college “recognizes that Dr. Jones is a great teacher and during her time at the college demonstrated good performance through high evaluations and was respected by her students and many of her colleagues.”