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Dr. Michael Joyner, backed by the Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA), has initiated a lawsuit against the Mayo Clinic College, including its president and board chair. The suit arises from disciplinary actions taken against Joyner following his public comments on topics within his field of expertise. Specifically, the controversy revolves around statements he made to the New York Times about gender differences in athletic performance and to CNN regarding the use of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 treatment. The Mayo Clinic’s response, which involved suspension, salary review implications, and strict media interview oversight, is at the heart of this legal challenge.
We obtained a copy of the complaint for you here.
Lucas Morel, chair of the AFA’s academic committee, emphasized the lawsuit’s significance, asserting that “academic freedom is a key guarantor of scientific integrity.”
Morel expects the case to establish a precedent for the freedom of scientists and academics to express their professional opinions without undue influence from financial or political interests. The AFA, which previously supported Joyner during his disciplinary hearings, is now financing this lawsuit, highlighting the organization’s commitment to protecting academic freedom.
Joyner’s legal action, filed with the State of Minnesota’s Third Judicial District, seeks compensation for the damages incurred from the disciplinary measures. These included a week-long unpaid suspension, denial of salary increase, and a potential termination threat, all of which have reportedly harmed Joyner’s finances and professional reputation. The lawsuit, handled by Allen Harris Law, was filed after allowing the defendants to review and respond, which they declined.
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