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At UNCW, Prof. Mike Adams is Harassing Queer, Muslim Students — And Getting Away With It

Title V of the Civil Rights Act may finally give the University of North Carolina at Wilmington the argument they need to terminate Professor Mike Adams.

UNCW Professor Mike Adams.

UNCW Professor Mike Adams.

A professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) is harassing students who identify as queer and Muslim, The Daily Beast reports.

Mike Adams, who lectures in criminology and blogs for the right-wing media outlet Daily Wire, targeted Narda Merghani, a 17-year-old freshman and Sudanese refugee who describes herself as a “black, Queer Muslim.”

According to The Daily Beast, Merghani had never had a one-on-one conversation with Adams, in or outside the classroom. Instead, the young student became aware of Adam’s actions in spring 2015 after chancing across a vitriolic Facebook post that Adams penned about her.

Said Adams, “The only thing more disgusting than a jihadist Muslim is a pro-choice Muslim.” He also accused Merghani of terroristic affiliation and plotting a “Queer Muslim Jihad.”

And this is just the tip of a very deep iceberg.

Back in 2009, Adams used the conservative mouthpiece Town Hall to attack two openly gay students. He wasn’t reprimanded.

In fact, Adam’s entire official Facebook page is a safe haven for anti-gay, anti-trans and Islamophobic rhetoric. He dismisses same-sex marriage rights as issuing a license to “rape,” rallies against “the gay lifestyle” and calls transgender identity the result of a “mental illness.”

Since Adam’s cyber-rant against Merghani has come to light, she has stated fearing for her life on the UNC campus. However, for UNCW officials, neither information and details about Adams’s behavior nor the concerns of Merghani are enough to warrant termination.

“Dr. Adams’s online column and social media presence represent his personal expressions and opinions on a variety of topics,” reads a UNCW statement. “These expressions and opinions are neither within the requested scope of Dr. Adams’s duties with the university, nor do they represent the views of this institution. However, they are expressions protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

Even though it’s clear that Adams knowingly defamed the name and reputation of this Muslim student, UNCW has opted to look the other way:

“At this point, the university has not found evidence that Dr. Adams has improperly released any private or confidential information related to the student, or violated the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). There is no evidence of unlawful discrimination by Dr. Adams toward this student in UNCW’s working, living, or learning environment, per the university’s harassment prevention policy. Finally, Dr. Adams’s conduct and written material do not contain any evidence of a true threat toward this or any other student.”

Related: Bay Area Teacher Suspended for Trump/Hitler History Lesson

All of this formality is a smokescreen for the real reason UNCW refuses to fire Adams: they’re afraid. This fear goes back to 2007, when Adams filed a free-speech discrimination suit against UNCW after they refused to promote him to full professor, presumably because of his dubious reputation. He won, and the school was forced to pay a hefty six-figure sum.

Since then, Adams has felt immune enough to ramp up his hateful crusade, bringing us to the recent verbal shots he fired at Merghani.

While Merghani has decided to, as Michelle Obama would say, “go high” and transfer to another university to finish her education, some students (more than 2,000, actually) have made it their mission to not accept disrespect lying down — not least from a member of the academic faculty. They have appealed to a clause in Title V of the federal Civil Rights Act, which states that free speech rights can be withdrawn if someone creates a hostile environment. Students hope that this will finally permit the UNCW administration to enact justice and cut loose a hate-monger.


Antwan is an educator, cultural critic, actor, and writer for Wear Your Voice Mag (WYV), where he focuses on the dynamics of class, race, gender, politics, and pop culture. Prior to joining the team at WYV, he was an adjunct professor in the African American Studies Department at Valdosta State University in southern Georgia, where he taught African American Literature. He has traveled the U.S. and U.K. showcasing a fifty-five minute, one-person play titled Whitewash, which focuses on the state of black men in the post-civil rights era. Antwan received his B.A. in English and Literature from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and M.A. in African American Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. He is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and NAACP theater nominee.

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