Reinstate Dr. Michael Phillips and commit to Free Speech at Collin College

Reinstate Dr. Michael Phillips and commit to Free Speech at Collin College

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Why this petition matters

Started by Collin TFA

Dr. Michael Phillips, an award-winning history professor at Collin College, just got fired for reportedly misrepresenting the college through his public statements, even though, as an academic at a public educational institution, he has a Constitutional right to freedom of speech.

At a division meeting before classes began in August of 2021, faculty were told that they were not allowed to recommend or encourage students to wear masks during the Fall semester of 2021 because this would go against Governor Abbot’s no mask mandate for Texas public schools. Faculty learned about this policy right when the Delta variant was about to surge in Texas. Dr. Phillips photographed a PowerPoint slide of this policy and put it on his social media to alert others to this dangerous policy. Later that same semester, Collin College gave him a disciplinary warning for encouraging mask wearing and social distancing in his classrooms. This brave man put his job on the line for the health and safety of his students, colleagues, and the greater community.

As well as looking out for his community, Dr. Phillips is a champion of civil rights and is committed to ending the terrible legacy of racism in Dallas. In 2017 he was on the administration’s radar when he co-wrote and signed a letter in the Dallas Morning News, advocating for the removal of Confederate monuments from Dallas. The letter included his academic credentials. The administration told him once the letter was published that he should not have included his ties to Collin College, which means that Collin College is uncomfortable with faculty who denounce racism.

The administration overturned a faculty committee’s recommendation to keep him on the faculty by deciding to terminate him at the end of the academic year. This unilateral action is devastating for Dr. Phillips and demonstrates the lack of shared governance at Collin College—a continuous problem at the institution.

Collin College is a public, community college that supposedly supports dignity, respect, and free speech. Dr. Phillips spoke out at Board meetings in support of three other Collin professors last year who were fired for free speech reasons. Because Collin College has fired a total of four professors for free speech issues within two years, other faculty are afraid they will be fired if they speak out. Faculty need your voice to help them teach without fear of retaliation. Students need to know that firing faculty for their speech goes against academic freedom. Please ask Collin College to reinstate Dr. Phillips and to make a commitment to free speech, the right to organize, and the right to petition for redress of grievances.

3,009 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!