The University of Colorado Boulder has stripped John Eastman of his remaining public functions following the visiting conservative scholar’s involvement in former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of last November’s election.
CU officials already had canceled Eastman’s spring courses due to low enrollment, and confirmed Thursday that they’ve revoked his outreach and speaking duties as a representative of the Boulder campus’s Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization.
“University officials determined Eastman’s continued pursuit of these duties would likely be disruptive and damage the interests of the campus and the Benson Center,” Andrew Sorensen, a CU Boulder spokesman, said in a statement.
Eastman may continue to “perform scholarship,” including “research and related activities,” Sorensen said.
In a statement to The Denver Post, Eastman said, “The university has retaliated against me for constitutionally protected First Amendment activities. I will be exploring all options.”
CU Boulder’s chancellor previously has said he won’t fire Eastman, and campus officials confirmed Thursday that the professor remains rostered as the 2020-2021 visiting scholar of conservative thought and policy at the Benson Center and will continued to be paid the remainder of his $185,000 salary through the end of the appointment on May 7.
The privately-funded program has hosted nine conservative scholars since 2013 to teach, study and organize discussions centering conservative ideology and debate.
Chancellor Phil DiStefano earlier this month called out Eastman for spreading “repugnant” conspiracy theories about voter fraud at the Trump rally in Washington, D.C., that preceded the storming of the U.S. Capitol by the then-president’s supporters on Jan. 6.
DiStefano said Eastman fanned the flames that contributed to the mob, and called the professor an embarrassment to the institution. However, the chancellor said he wouldn’t fire Eastman, citing the First Amendment and the university’s policies that bar the censorship of a faculty member’s political speech.
Eastman told the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder that DiStefano’s comments were defamatory and false.
CU Boulder did, however, cancel Eastman’s two spring courses last week, citing single-digit enrollment in each.
Eastman’s home institution, the private Chapman University in California, announced an immediate retirement plan for the professor following the Jan. 6 riot.
Last week, the New York Times reported Eastman was in the Oval Office with Trump the day before the Capitol riot, arguing to Vice President Mike Pence that Pence had the power to block certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Eastman also represented Trump in a lawsuit filed by Texas and 17 other states asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block four key states from finalizing Biden’s electoral victory. The court rejected the lawsuit.
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