In October 2020, professor Garrett Ferber publicly criticized his department chair for rejecting a grant to a community education program focused on racial justice and incarceration, tweeting that the University of Mississippi was motivated by a desire to protect “racist donor money.” Following the tweets, Felber’s department chair requested to have a phone conversation, then video conferences, with Felber to discuss the tweets. Felber — on leave for a year-long fellowship at Harvard — replied that he preferred to communicate in writing. In December, the department chair recommended that Felber’s contract be nonrenewed. FIRE wrote to the University on December 18, 2020, asking it to account for the university’s response and reconsider the nonrenewal. Felber subsequently retained an attorney and reached a settlement with the university.
FIRE Case Files