Providence College: Tenured Professor Threatened with Termination for Possessing Plan B


Providence College

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

On October 13, 2022, tenured biology professor James Waters held up a box of Plan B during a lecture on the mechanisms of hormonal contraception, and invited students to office hours with any further questions. After rumors spread that Waters was distributing Plan B to students, Providence College told Waters on November 10 it was beginning termination proceedings. FIRE wrote Providence on November 21 explaining that possessing a contraceptive for pedagogical purposes is protected under academic freedom, despite the college’s protestations that doing so violated Waters’s commitment to uphold the school’s Catholic mission. Just a few hours after receiving FIRE’s letter, Providence told Waters that the termination proceedings would cease.