Statement from Eastern Michigan University regarding lawsuit:
The University stands firmly behind the disciplinary action taken against Professor Higbee and will defend itself vigorously in this matter. The First Amendment does not protect Professor Higbee's use of a racial slur in this context. Specifically, Professor Higbee's statements represent an egregious violation of University employment standards and core values, which serve to uphold important ideals and principles such as excellence, respect, inclusiveness, responsibility and integrity. These values are designed to provide an overview of appropriate behavior, and serve to protect the greater University community from inappropriate conduct by any University employee. Words used in the workplace matter, whether issued in person or via an online EMU-centric forum. The fact that the posts in question were issued during Dr. Higbee's posted office hours reinforces the legitimacy of the University's decision. The University stands behinds its actions in this matter. There is no place on our campus for this kind of conduct.
Core values :
Excellence – We provide an exceptional environment to our faculty, staff, and students. We improve our performance continuously and strive to be the best in everything we do.
Respect – We care for our people, communities and the environment and show respect for the dignity of the individual.
Inclusiveness – We create an environment that supports, represents, embraces and engages members of diverse groups and identities.
Responsibility – We are accountable – individually and in teams – for our behaviors, actions and results. We keep commitments.
Integrity – Integrity and transparency are critical to our institutional effectiveness. We pursue the highest level of personal, intellectual, academic, financial and operational integrity within the University community.