April 2024

May 1, 2024 | Monthly Newsletter

April Update from the AFA

New Hearing in Dr. Joyner’s Case Against the Mayo Clinic

On April 8th, Dr. Michael Joyner’s legal team, which is funded by the AFA, squared off in court against the Mayo Clinic in a new pretrial hearing. The hearing came in response to the defense’s partial motion to dismiss claims that the Mayo Clinic violated its contractual obligations to Dr. Joyner when it punished him for comments he made to press about sex-specific differences in sports performance and about the use of convalescent plasma in the treatment of COVID-19. Prior to the hearing, Dr. Joyner’s legal team filed a new memorandum with the court explaining why the motion should be dismissed. 

As the memo explains, “Mayo’s Academic Freedom policy expressly protects faculty speech related to research and scholarship, and promises that Mayo will not retaliate if a faculty member’s scholarly opinions or conclusions conflict with those of the institution. Mayo broke this promise to Dr. Joyner. Mayo punished him with a suspension, lost pay, and an ongoing gag order. Mayo also violated its policy by attempting to prevent Dr. Joyner from speaking about his research at academic conferences, even though giving such presentations is a required part of his academic appointment as a Clinician Investigator.”

The AFA has assisted Dr. Joyner from the outset of the controversy. You can find here our June 2023 letter to the Mayo Clinic in support of Joyner and our statement when Joyner’s original lawsuit was filed in November. The court has yet to issue a ruling in response to the defense’s motion to dismiss. 

Opportunities to Present at Upcoming FIRE Conference 

In partnership with our friends at FIRE, we would like to invite you to apply to present at the 2024 FIRE Faculty Network Conference in Boston, MA from October 24-26. Faculty who wish to present as individuals, panelists, or debaters can submit proposals here. The deadline to apply to present is June 30th. If you don’t wish to present, you can also apply to attend the conference here. The deadline to apply to attend is July 31st.

There is no fee to attend the conference, and attendees may receive up to $700 in travel reimbursement. In addition, presenters will each receive a $1,000 honorarium. If you would like to attend or present, please make sure you have joined FIRE’s Faculty Network so you can receive updates on this event and many other opportunities. We hope to see many of you representing the AFA at this important conference in the fall. 

Membership Update

We added 7 new members in April, bringing us to a total of 865. We continue to accept new members on a rolling basis. Please send any nominations to AFA Director of Operations Howard Muncy at hmuncy@academicfreedom.org.

As we continue to expand our membership and casework, we’re grateful to everyone who has donated to our organization and hope all of our members and friends will consider contributing here. We could not do our work without your support. 

Learn More About the Academic Freedom Alliance

No one, at any academic institution, should fear suppression or retaliation for speaking out publicly in any form. We encourage you to join the movement in supporting the flourishing of intellectual life and the pursuit of knowledge and truth at institutions of higher learning.