Former police officer claims college fired him for holding conservative views

Moravits denies wrongdoing and alleges he is being terminated for expressing conservative views in the classroom.

Two former students filed affidavits affirming that the professor never made disparaging comments.

Former police officer turned political science instructor, Will Moravits, was fired from St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas after an anonymous student accused him of making bigoted statements about Black and LGBTQ people. Moravits denies the allegations, presenting evidence that suggests he was actually targeted for his association with the conservative political organization CPAC and his support for police officers.

In a “Notice of Nonrenewal” sent on March 27, the college stated that Moravits’ contract as an instructor would not be renewed, and his employment would end on May 13, 2023.

The decision not to renew Moravits’ contract followed a Title IX investigation triggered by an anonymous complaint from a student, who alleged that Moravits had made disparaging comments about the LGBTQ community, deviated from class topics, and justified the use of police force in the case of George Floyd during a lecture in his introductory political science course. 

In an email exchange between Alamo College District Director of Talent Advocacy & Solutions Karen B. Ireland and Moravits spanning from early to mid-April, Moravits was told that the investigation was dropped without determination, but still lost his job and benefits. 

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Moravits denies wrongdoing and alleges he is being terminated for expressing conservative views in the classroom.

His attorney, Michael Allen, argues that the non-renewal should be considered a termination, and not simply a non-renewal of contract. 

In a letter to the college obtained by Campus Reform, Allen writes, “His ‘non-renewal’ is more properly characterized as a termination. Dr. Moravits, as you know, was scheduled to teach through the Spring 2024 semester. Thus, the so-called ‘nonrenewal’ is much more than simply a discretionary choice not to re-assign an at-will employee to service certain classes. It takes away employment already offered to him.” 

“This was based on accusations that he had harassed a student in class. Any reasonable investigation, which Dr. Moravits has already been informed will not be carried to its conclusion and without Dr. Moravits being allowed to provide witnesses on his behalf, would reveal that the accusations were made in bad faith by a student who could not tolerate exposure to facts and viewpoints with which she did not agree,” Allen continued. 

But it is not just Moravits’ lawyer expressing support for him. He also has the support of two former students who filed affidavits affirming that the professor never made disparaging comments.

Affidavit 1 by Campus Reform on Scribd

Affidavit 2 by Campus Reform on Scribd

The first affidavit, filed by an African American student, states, “I never felt uncomfortable in Dr. Moravits’ class. I never felt demeaned. I never felt offended by what was said in class.” The student further explains that while controversial issues were discussed, Moravits treated all students with respect and encouraged open discussion.

In an email to Campus Reform, Moravits expressed his gratitude for the support of his former students and their willingness to speak out on his behalf. 

Moravits says the relationship between himself and St. Philip’s College became strained after he published his book, The Blue Divide: Policing and Race in America, which gained attention from the National Police Association and CPAC in August 2022. 

The book aims to inform readers about policing, training, and the use of force in order to foster a better understanding of the profession. As he told Campus Reform, Moravits analyzed high-profile cases of alleged police brutality and provided explanations based on factual evidence and officers’ reasoning.

His book also challenges the narrative of police disproportionately targeting and killing Black men, using peer-reviewed research articles and data from credible sources, aiming to debunk the media’s portrayal of cops as inherently racist perhaps the nail in the coffin for the former police officer.  

According to Moravits, his relationship with the college had been positive until the publication of his book. 

“My relationship seemed to be fairly positive with the college” until publishing the book, he told Campus Reform. “All of my evaluations were excellent and I got along well with my chair, the administrative assistant, and the dean.”

After, however, colleagues began to gossip, according to his testimony, one even arguing that Moravits’ views on policing threaten democracy. 

In August 2022, the professor posted an image of him standing alongside Betsy Brantner Smith, a retired cop and Blue Lives Matter activist, promoting his book at Dallas CPAC event. 

According to Moravits, the post was seen by his colleague Cynthia Pryor, who texted another anonymous colleague that the school should “push Moravits out.” 

The individual who received the text messages from Pryor showed the message to Moravits, and he took the following image, according to his testimony: 

In closing remarks, the professor told Campus Reform the following: 

“My transition from policing to education is mostly a result of my previous marriage. I had been married for two years when I became an officer, and my first child was born a few months after I finished the academy. The job was stressful on my marriage and I left after three years into my career (my second son was born just before I resigned) in order to help the marriage … My family is full of teachers at the K-12 level and in higher ed, so it was a natural transition. I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching even though a part of me still misses law enforcement.”

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Allen has not yet filed a lawsuit against the college and told Campus Reform that he could not comment on litigation strategy or timing. 

He did, however, describe Moravits’ situation as one that points to a “larger problem” in American higher education: 

He concluded, arguing that Moravits’ First Amendment rights have been violated. 

The First Amendment is “clear,” Allen noted. “Even if an employee is ‘at will’ (meaning that he or she can be discharged without cause), that employee cannot be discharged in retaliation for the exercise of First Amendment rights.” 

Campus Reform contacted St. Philip’s College for comment, but did not receive a response in time for this publication. This article will be updated accordingly.