UCF professor behind controversial tweets fired for failing to report sexual assault, university says

Charles Negy accused of creating ‘hostile learning environment’

ORLANDO, Fla. – The University of Central Florida has officially fired a professor who drew multiple complaints over his tweets but his termination is unrelated to his social media conduct and instead stems from other policy violations and allegations, including that he failed to report a student’s sexual assault.

School officials first announced earlier this month that they intended to fire associate associate professor of psychology Charles Negy. On Friday, that decision was made official, despite a written response Negy submitted on Jan. 19.

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According to the termination letter, Negy created a “hostile learning environment” for students “through discriminatory harassment,” deterred students from filing complaints about his classroom conduct and provided false information to university investigators as they built a case against him.

Additionally, records show that in February 2014, a student told Negy that one of his teaching assistants had sexually assaulted her and Negy told that woman to “be more conscientious when choosing her friends” as she dissuaded her from filing a report, records show. Officials said Negy never reported the sexual assault disclosure and never provided further resources for the student.

“Your unacceptable professional conduct, as enumerated above, has resulted in a complete loss of the trust the university must place in its faculty,” UCF College of Sciences Interim Dean Tosha Dupras wrote in the termination letter.

In June 2020, Negy shared an opinion editorial post from a blog that led to calls for him to step down or the university to fire him.

“This article is spot on (will infuriate folks). Black privilege is real: Besides affirm. action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege. But as a group, they’re missing out on much needed feedback,” Negy wrote in the tweet.

Student government leaders passed a resolution around that time asking for UCF to fire Negy, writing that some of their peers feel “unsafe and unwelcome” in light of Negy’s comments and other prospective students are now reconsidering whether they’d still like to attend UCF.

Following a series of complaints against Negy, UCF launched an investigation about his conduct in the classroom. UCF Office of Institutional Equity investigators spoke to more than 300 people, including former and current students, and reviewed documents and audio.

The allegations of misconduct and termination were unrelated to Negy’s social media statements, which are protected under free expression.

“At UCF, we support the rights of everyone in our campus community to freely express their opinions, even those we do not support. We also value faculty members’ right to academic freedom to present subjects forthrightly and responsibly, even when those discussions involve comments that some might find offensive,” the university said in a statement. “Faculty and staff members also have a responsibility to not create a hostile or discriminatory environment, which can violate the university’s nondiscrimination policy and code of conduct. The university is committed to a culture of inclusive excellence, and we do not tolerate discrimination against any students or employees.”

Negy has not been teaching any spring semester classes. His paid administrative leave, which began Jan. 5, will end on Friday.