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Academic Freedom Prevails: Professor Reinstated for Teaching Biological Truths

A Texas professor, Dr. Johnson Varkey, who faced termination for alleged complaints about his teaching on the biological aspects of sex, has successfully reached a settlement with administrators and is set to be reinstated following a lawsuit by the First Liberty Institute. Dr. Varkey, an educator with 20 years of experience, is poised to resume teaching biology at St. Philip’s College’s Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland campus in the upcoming fall semester.

First Liberty Institute, a non-profit legal organization, filed a charge of discrimination against St. Philip’s and the Alamo Community College District, leading to Dr. Varkey’s reinstatement. The settlement includes provisions ensuring Dr. Varkey’s return to the classroom by the fall of 2024. Associate Counsel Kayla Toney expressed satisfaction with the voluntary reinstatement and noted that Dr. Varkey is excited about the outcome.

Originally accused of “religious preaching, discriminatory comments about homosexuals and transgender individuals, anti-abortion rhetoric, and misogynistic banter” in January 2023, the school failed to provide specific examples. Dr. Varkey mentioned an incident where four students walked out of class when he stated that “sex was determined by chromosomes X and Y,” indicating that the complaints likely originated from them.

In the lawsuit, First Liberty Institute argued that administrators, based on unsubstantiated complaints, accused Dr. Varkey of an ethics violation, demonstrating animus towards his religious beliefs. The legal action contended that the actions taken reflected St. Philip’s College’s hostility toward Dr. Varkey due to his religious convictions. The successful resolution through settlement marks a victory for academic freedom and religious expression.

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